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Kathryn Kirkpatrick


Strange Meeting

Is this how an animal feels
on the other side of a human eye?

I was a woman speaking
to men I didn’t know.

Large and strong, they
knew about power
in ways I may never

I sat framed and assessed
no threat     a square jaw decided
negligible    bent knuckles said

I looked back through my animal
eye, saw

the slit throat of the cow
in the leather shoe

the poisons deep in the soil
where the cotton grew

the felled trees
of the papers stacked

the mountains leveled
in the electric hum of light and heat
where we sat.

I saw clearly
all they had done and would do
to make a world we’d be losing fast.

I saw why it was lost.
And I saw how we would lose it.



Raised in the nomadic subculture of the U.S. military, Kathryn Kirkpatrick was born in Columbia, S.C., and grew up in the Phillipines, Germany, Texas, and the Carolinas. Today she lives in Vilas, N.C., and is professor of English at Appalachian State University. Her poetry collections are The Body’s Horizon (Signal Books, 1996), Beyond Reason (Pecan Grove Press, 2004), and Out of the Garden (Mayapple Press, 2007).
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