Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher









The scenery is used to being blamed for such things, red, beige, and more red with some yellow.  And blue and black and white.


I’m busy looking at everything I’m looking at.  It rises and falls as I sit and stand.  It’s shadowy or bright or neither, really.  Navys and grays.  I expect great things from it.


A little jump and it’s leaping.  There on the bluffs overlooking the town I see it leap as I’m looking at it leaping.


If, late in summer, it’s late in summer, then it’s late in summer.  That weird feeling of being cheated when the forecast of bad things happening doesn’t come to pass.


Darling.  Yes, darling.






I tried to phone you, but we’d reached the very edge of the meadow.  Now a felled tree, some thistle.  It all reminds me of a book I read, the one where the field only seems endless.


In the book, everything’s haunted, even the flowers.  Especially the flowers.  And the chapters aren’t numbered, so you forget exactly where you are, and where you placed the key to the room that holds all of your things from childhood.


Maybe that’s why I dial the number again and again.  It goes without saying the book was right about the landscape, the way it darkens one tree at a time.


By now the receiver feels cold in my hand.  My face gone pale with all this thinking.






We’ve each killed someone, but it’s been so long ago we no longer remember the details, like what it was over or what we did with the body.  That’s fine, we think, as forgetfulness is a kind of pardon or fresh innocence.  And maybe it never happened.  Maybe it’s just something we’ve dreamed up out of guilt for how nice the view is from the patio and infinity pool.  There are times though, in our love-making, where our hand will slip, and the thumb will find itself at that little indentation at the base of the neck and it’ll feel so familiar, like a reflex.  Maybe we shouldn’t go through with the renovations to the guest house after all.  No, that’s safe, we’re sure.  Maybe we shouldn’t sell the rental property or look inside the freezer we keep forgetting we keep in the basement.



from Ghost / Landscape (BlazeVox Books, 2016)













Kristina Marie Darling is the author of twenty-seven books of poetry, most recently Ghost / Landscape (with John Gallaher; BlazeVox Books, 2016) and the forthcoming Dark Horse (C&R Press, 2017). Her awards include three residencies at Yaddo, where she has held the Martha Walsh Pulver Residency for a Poet, as well as a Hawthornden Castle Fellowship, a Fundacion Valparaiso Fellowship, and three residencies at the American Academy in Rome.  She is the recipient of grants from the Whiting Foundation and Harvard University’s Kittredge Fund.  Her poems appear in New American Writing, The Mid-American Review, Poetry International, Passages North, Nimrod, and many other magazines. She has published essays in Agni, The Gettysburg Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Iowa Review, The Literary Review, Descant, and elsewhere. She is Editor-in-Chief ofTupelo Quarterly and Grants Specialist at Black Ocean. She divides her time between the United States and Europe.  

John Gallaher is the author of five books of poetry, Gentlemen in Turbans, Ladies in Cauls (2001), The Little Book of Guesses (2007), winner of the Levis Poetry Prize, Map of the Folded World (2009), Your Father on the Train of Ghosts (with G.C. Waldrep, 2011), and In a Landscape (2014), as well as two chapbooks, and two edited collections, The Monkey and the Wrench (with Mary Biddinger) and Time Is a Toy: the Selected Poems of Michael Benedikt (with Laura Boss). His poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Poetry, Boston Review, Chicago Review, and elsewhere. He lives in rural Missouri where he teaches and co-edits The Laurel Review.


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