Gina Keicher

Date Night in New York City



Dear Francis, I am ringing you up on the telephone

because it has a rotary dial that makes me sing

like Ann-Margret as my finger swings the numbers.

The dial makes me feel like your every month

pinup girl—more fitting than homecoming queen,

Miss December, Miss June, Miss Camillus Mall.

The vintage satisfaction of turning the dial

all the way to nine just to watch it fall back.

I whisper words like “steady” and “darling”

to the receiver and the air talks back.

I mean it, you ghost on the other end of the line.

Remember New York? We were crossing the street

and a pug crossed the other way. You said

it was rude to stare and I thought it was weird

because it was just a dog. Then you were on another train

and I was headed somewhere else. We could have

had a good time. I would have shown you the restaurant

where the bathroom walls are tall windows

looking onto dead tracks. A cold line. This cold call.

Taking trains everywhere, believing we were the lights.

Francis, what kind of people think they get to be the fucking lights?

Date Night with Found Bat



We bring the cat inside and talk experts.

A long nightshirt hangs over my legs.

This bat between you and me

is a bat between me and my face.

The green pantry.

A smoky mirage in the wood grain

portends a corkscrew with a cork

stuck on the coil. My fingers

threaded through your knuckles.

A foyer in your back.

Too much space on each side

of the mattress. Too little between us.

Between us, a bat wing.

A little brown bat wing.

I am less amazed

by how they fall to fly,

than how they balance

on the toes to walk.

Even adults are small.

Our bat rides a white truck

to Albany, folded into himself,

stunned on a bed of ice.

Soon the streets will fold into winter.

On either side of a season, a city,

or what we want: a full night’s rest,

a still pair of wings.

This box lined with ice.

Well Visit



This house of February.

Swollen stairs nail winter

to spring. Ice freezes wide across hallways.

On my third call to the psychic hotline,

I voice concerns for these rooms.

Bedroom, kitchen. Rumpus room

with mini-fridge and pool table,

green felt I stretch across.

A stranger takes my picture.

I lay my head on the top rail,

cool veneer snowed in chalk.

I pin a target to the dartboard.

Admire construction paper stippled

in point values, wonder where

my heart lands on the diagram

detailing precision. I pull the blinds.

A dog’s thin silhouette distorts

in the vinyl. The stranger will return

next year. His form goes out

the front door with his footsteps.

The nights he is here convince me

there is no solar nature. Only sun.

Always amethyst, dragging

an enormous self back

into the ground. If there is an exit

from this room, a hero will find it.

The hero will want the dull ruby

growing at the bottom of this well.


GINA KEICHER is the author of the poetry collection Wilderness Champion (Gold Wake Press, 2014) and the chapbook Here is My Adventure I Call it Alone (Dancing Girl Press, 2015). She is an associate editor for Black Lawrence Press. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, BOAAT, inter|rupture, and Whiskey Island. She lives in Ithaca, New York.