Kelly Forsythe

Imagining an Aftermath



Some time passes, you go back to your paper

kingdom, and close your eyes.

Maybe you’ve been lucky

in the dark, no one sees your fingers growing teeth.

We will not understand the coring

of your body—all that love! There it goes! The tonsils were not

worth it. The mountains were not worth it. The eyelashes,

the shoulders. You filled the earth ten

times over with a slanted eye. Pain meet the pain

of one string, of one straight line from hand to gun to brain.


There’s more. Just left behind from sleep. A please.


A desire. A hand cupping a bad heart. A hole in a paper skull

called into again: salt, or pale, or imploding.




My favorite artery

I understood was

dusk to the rest

of the body.


Set back, growing dim,

it pulsed: a gray hour

of oxygen—could it be


mid-winter within

him? Shaking

out the birds from

behind a muscle: we


are somewhere

averting. We are

backwards or in

a trance or in a

dioxide stargazing.


From the self:



metallic echo—

your whole self

sending back its

savage necessities.


KELLY FORSYTHE is currently writing and living in Washington D.C. Her poems have appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, The Minnesota Review, Black Warrior Review and American Poet. She is the Assistant Book Reviews Editor for the LA Review, and co-founder of Phantom Limb, an online literary journal and chapbook press.