Joshua McKinney



Through earthbound eye
the hawk in flight 
maps the course of thought
aloft in circles

surveys new scenes 
revisits the old       impossible
to divine the way
it will incline

toward its intent 
there all along and
now how straight
it falls to eat


Within each accident,
              very other under all conditions, 
                          the light and life-script un-
noticed no-answer urge and 
             zoom like plastered, like
                         tucked, like 
naked textures swim risen and fell-

wake in your dream of it
            back in the hills 
                         fumiture broken for the fire, water
flowing shrill to catch each 
             its ping and splendor-

and the small birds, after all, 
            are not so much about wishing 
                         or the face you sketch without eyes
or the hand you flex to hold 
            all this rain.



the square of some measure
the rare 
                and slender stems

become an instrument
to flay fact

down to a level above 
                                          the actual I
thought I knew 
               the flowers here

startled at the word is alight on a hill



Joshua McKinney’s Saunter won the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series Competition for 2001. He has poems forthcoming in American Letters & CommentaryColorado ReviewKenyon Review, and elsewhere. He teaches at California State University – Sacramento.