Kristin Bock

Claire Anna Baker "Strings of Desire" (Detail)

Claire Anna Baker "Strings of Desire" (Detail)

The Clearing


My father is a branch about to break

bending to cut the cedar so he can see deeper


into the forest from our porch. I drag each

felled trunk by the end of the fresh cut,


lay them to rest in piles of green. How

is it I forget to count the rings


in the cedar's red center? Everywhere,

leaves wave like dollar bills—


What love is more expensive than ours?

I grab their great necks and pull.

On the Day of your Wedding


On the day of your wedding,

I’m beating a dead monkey


on the cathedral stairs. I’m wearing

my hat with the horns, a gown


of red arrows that point straight

down. On the day of your wedding,


I’m riding a carousel horse in a glass bikini.

Covered in katydids, licking


Oblivion from a dinner plate, sitting

and speaking of love as if it could save us.


Here is my full set of wax teeth.

Here is your dress like a bandage.


Here, my monkey paws. 

Cave Paintings


Tonight, the moon hides

in her interlunar cave,


does not lean her light foot

through the glass. Our bed darkens


as we grow pale, translucent,

nearly blind. Inside a cathedral


of whittled limbs—among a stony maze

of draperies, chandeliers and shields—


we are the sound of hollowing.

All too soon the sun


will put its torch out on us,

and we will want for nothing


but the dark flowering stations

our ashes left behind. 



KRISTIN BOCK holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts where she currently teaches. She is the author of Cloisters, winner of Tupelo Press’s First Book Award and the da Vinci Eye Award.  Her poems have appeared in many literary magazines and journals, including VERSE, Columbia, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, The Black Warrior Review, and FENCE. She lives with her husband, artist Geoffrey Kostecki, in Montague, Massachusetts where they refurbish liturgical art for churches throughout New England. She is also a contributing editor to the literary magazine, Bateau.