Kathleen Hellen

You should have seen it coming

A helicopter crashes off Na Pali coast

the wind a shearing 


snatching at your cap, tacking in the glistening

waves, a plaything of the dolphins


slapping chins, slapping flippers

Your sons like mermen


in the tow under the track “I Will Survive,” as you dance 

on deck, eyes like clicking cameras, the Lucky 


Lady lapping at the coastline where the land 

broke in half, where streams cut valleys 


into cliffs, where sailors traded iron nails for sex 

pretended to be gods


The air's afflicted


You hold on to the ladder going backward, cast 

oranges like lures to schooling fish, listen 


for the humpbacks nudging calves. Catch 

a glimpse of something rising in the flume: 


The fluke 

The fingerprint of shipstrike. 


Kathleen Hellen is the author of The Only Country was the Color of My Skin, Umberto’s Night, winner of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House prize, and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento. Featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, her work has appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, Diode Poetry Journal, jubilat, The Massachusetts Review, New American Writing, New Letters, North American Review, Poetry East, and West Branch, among others. Hellen has won the Thomas Merton poetry prize and prizes from the H.O.W. Journal and Washington Square Review.

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