If I have any romantic notions left,
please let me abandon them here
on the dashboard of your Subaru
beside this container of gas station
potato salad and bottle of sunscreen.
Otherwise, my heart is a sugar packet
waiting to be shaken open by some
other man’s hand. Let there be another town
after this one, a town with an improbable Western
name—Wisdom, Last Chance—where we can get
a room and a six-pack, where the fireworks
end early, say nine o’clock, before it’s really
gotten dark enough to see them because
everyone has to work in the morning.
I’m not asking for love anymore.
I don’t care if I never see a sailboat again

Poem first appeared in Willow Springs. “Fourth of July” from Beautiful in the Mouth, copyright 2010 by Keetje Kuipers, BOA Editions, Ltd.

Keetje Kuipers is a native of the Northwest. She earned her B.A. at Swarthmore College and her M.F.A. at the University of Oregon. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Oregon Literary Arts, and Soapstone. In 2007 she completed her tenure as the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident, which provided her with seven months of solitude in Oregon’s Rogue River Valley. She used her time there to complete work on her book, Beautiful in the Mouth, which was awarded the 2009 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize and was published in March 2010 by BOA Editions. It contains poems previously published in Prairie Schooner, West Branch, Willow Springs, and AGNI, among others. You can also listen to her read her work—which has been nominated five years in a row for the Pushcart Prize—at the online audio archive From the Fishouse. Keetje has taught writing at the University of Montana and is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. In the 2011-2012 academic year, Keetje will serve as the Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettsyburg College. At the moment, she divides her time between San Francisco and Missoula, Montana, where she lives with her dog, Bishop, and does her best to catch a few fish.

Editor’s Note: There’s nothing like the desert for giving up, especially for a heart like a “sugar packet,” sweet, flimsy, and easily shaken.

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  1. Sivan Butler-Rotholz says:

    Oh boy. Wait until you see tomorrow’s post!!! Wait for it, wait for it…

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