A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Nathan Kemp




by the tree
the fruit
is known

I transform
into a tree

such a splinter
from such a stick

siesta &
a stolen rib

the wolf
is beaten

the wolf 
is sated 

& the sheep
are intact

the keeper 
of sheep

from the sky
the leaves fall
from me




we divide
the pelt of a bear
not yet killed

if you're afraid
of wolves

don't go
to the woods

everything changes
nothing disappears

we all see
the same sun

but we don't all
have the same fun

you cannot jump
above your head

one doesn't shear
the naked sheep

two bears
don't live
in one lair 


I found a ski resort weather marker at a flea market around Pike Place Market while in Seattle for AWP 2014. The sign is from Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington, a place I've never been. The sign reminds me of the mountains while I'm in Akron, a nice, tall place without any mountains.

Nathan Kemp lives in Akron, Ohio. His work appears in Columbia Poetry Review, Jellyfish Magazine, and South Dakota Review, among others. He is a poetry editor for Barn Owl Review, an associate editor for Whiskey Island, and a staff reviewer for American Microreviews and Interviews.