Two Poems by Robert S. King

A Cold Draft in Summer
In our full-moon drive,
headlights focus ahead
on the warm summer highway.
Suddenly the moonbeams
hang like icicles
as we come to the only house
where snow is falling,

where the lawn is white,
the roof is buried
nearly to the chimney top.
Nothing but shadows drift
across this freezing place.

The chimney breathes not
a smoke signal or spark
to show that someone
is tending fire.

We slow down but keep idling
homeward where our porch light
burns darkness away, where window
light melts our place into summer,
where we live always near the boiling point.

But here in the sudden winter, a single puff
rises from the snowcapped chimney
as if someone has given up the ghost.

You turn your head and shiver, turn off
the air conditioner, glance back
at the snow light drifting behind us, and sigh:
Who chooses to live and die in bitter cold?
Maybe they can’t take the heat.

I break out in cold sweat.
Even ice can burn, I say,
stepping on the gas.

A Sun too High to Light the Way
In a forgotten graveyard’s fog
thick as spiderwebs,
I hear the owl’s cold call
turn to caw, a cat’s purr
turn to dirge.

Nothing flies beneath
a mask of heavy darkness.
Nothing has enough shape
to have a name,
but to the touch, hard stones
stand like broken teeth.

Like the memory of the sun,
the path beneath me disappears.
The safety of tree limbs
creaks way above my head,
strains against the fog wall.

A crow could not see his shadow here.
A man could only feel himself falling here.

Feathers and limbs settle for this ground,
bury the stone that might have named me.
Imitating light, the silk shroud ties all
the lost together.

About the Poet
Robert S. King, a native Georgian, now lives in Lexington, Kentucky. His poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, including California Quarterly, Chariton Review, Hollins Critic, Kenyon Review, Atlanta Review, Main Street Rag, Midwest Quarterly, Southern Poetry Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. He has published eight collections of poetry, most recently Diary of the Last Person on Earth (Sybaritic Press, 2014) and Developing a Photograph of God (Glass Lyre Press, 2014). Robert’s work has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of Net award. He is currently editor-in-chief of Kentucky Review,