My car’s radiator broken, the engine overheat light on,
we pull off the road and look at the ocean,
two young Kansans on vacation, nearly to New Orleans.
Bea says, “Look at those birds,” and our eyes swift
to the grey-tipped terns, their wings lazy Vs,
they drift on the winds above the white-capped sea.
They float, and our hands come together, clasp,
as if taken together by wind, and our troubles dissolve,
like sugar into water, and I tell Bea, if the radiator
catches on fire, I’ll take our patch-work quilt, douse
it in our jug of water, smoother, and, like that,
the fire of our lips is doused with a kiss.
Kevin Rabas co-directs the creative writing program at Emporia State University and co-edits Flint Hills Review. He has six books: Bird’s Horn, Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano (a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner), Spider Face, Sonny Kenner’s Red Guitar (also a Nelson Poetry Book Award winner), Eliot’s Violin, and Green Bike (a group novel).
Stephen Meats, recently retired from teaching and administration at Pittsburg State University, is the author of a mixed genre collection of poems and stories, Dark Dove Descending and Other Parables (Mammoth Publications, 2013) and a collection of poems, Looking for the Pale Eagle (Woodley Press, 1993; expanded edition, Mammoth Publications, 2014). His poems, stories, and scholarly writings have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including more than two dozen articles on Whitman, Faulkner, and other writers in The Literary Encyclopedia. He has been poetry editor of The Midwest Quarterly since 1985. For his guest editorship, in addition to poems with Kansas associations, he asked contributors to submit work dealing with shore birds and water birds, if moved to do so, in recognition of his and his wife Ann’s recent move to Florida.