Three Poems – Kevin Kantor



everything is melting in colorado 
when my mother’s sister calls to tell me
               she lost three fingers
but doesn’t mention which.

i number each of my own, palms down
build a snowman with my elbows 
and crack my knuckles like code:

1 2 3 - 5 6 - - 9 10
she can still pick up a bottle.

1 2 3 4 5 - - 8 - 10
she will pull the trigger with the left hand.

- 2 3 4 - - 7 8 9 10
she can’t hitchhike.

i am suddenly very drunk
i have him trapped in the mudroom
he looks very handsome with short hair
and nothing like the boy i clawed my way out of 
i wonder how much cheap beer we’ll have to drink before every conversation 
we have stops tasting like false pretense 

we are casually discussing cancer 
while i continuously count to seven in my head.

there are secrets i want to tell him,
how i want to spend the night sleeping

in the creases of our broken pinky promises,
but i'm afraid he’d only scan my face silently like a sad love note

he wished he’d never unfolded into being,
shoving his hands in his pockets to keep from having to 

hold on to anything,
an unfit owner for weighted truth.

i measure us solely in our distance from inevitable.
i wonder if my lips actually just mouthed the phrase 
               kiss me

i wonder when he first named me

i am feeling in fractions
counting all the way to seven by tenths
imagining a matchstick splinter scratching at the idea of warmth.

this is how i learned to prove my love
by sloughing off parts of the self
and wishing someone would crawl into my empty

when we are finally outside
he and i  hug for a long time
i try to spell the word
with chattering teeth
and he leaves
with all my fingers in his pockets.


You can be the Dad and I can also be the Dad , or
You can be my Daddy and I’ll be your Son, or
You can be a Husband and I can be your cleared browser history, or
You can play the Father and I can be your man cave, or the bruises, or play dead.
Or maybe you could be the ghost and I could be haunted, or
You could be the garden and I’ll be the graveyard, or
I could always play alone,
Be the dog
Burying bones out back.


1. belonging to my mother;

deep hideaway. secret stash. rattling shoe boxes. costumes that the woman she 
used to be wore, stretched like dried hides, perfumed pelts. the hunter long 
gone. his picture still framed, hanging over the bed. a taxidermic memory of 
a marriage mounted on the wall.

2. belonging to my brother;

children’s clothing folded and time pressed in cardboard boxes. photo albums 
half empty. three crates of matchbox cars.

3. belonging to my father;

well-lit and sterile. the smell of formaldehyde. a stranger’s polo shirts. 
a fawn’s spotted coat.

4. belonging to me;

see: suitcase
see: driver’s side passenger door
see: bones draped in strange skin
see: wrapped in packing tape
see: the smell of bleach
see: matchbox
see: house fire

About Kevin Kantor

As a spoken word poet, teaching artist, and queer agent for social change, Kevin's poetry explores young adulthood, loss, living and loving while queer, the "it's complicated" relationship status between poetry and the Millenial generation.His first chapbook collection of poetry, Endowing Vegetables With Too Much Meaning, is available now ( . View all posts by Kevin Kantor

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