Kyle McCord

Soviet Film

Beloit College, 2004

The professor turns off the projector,
        and the students file out.

A Spruce Grouse’s
        double clap sounds
        from the river,

but this Wisconsin town 

is disappeared now.
        The campus’s conical mounds
        replaced by Siberian slopes

                        in a cinereal palate.

Snow shines
                the color of starvation,
    intense enough to make a man

kill his friend.

You are there
        in the library window
        when they pass, some rubbing
        some bartering cigarettes.

One hums, one runs
        a nervous hand across a shoulder.

Where to go
        but back to the bunks?

Stars with the sheen of frostbite
        prick the sorority roof,
                too famished to point.

Students pass ditches
                glutted with cadaverous
silver, but you are busy
        watching your visage
        in library glass, backing up until,

        like Vertov, you’re an image
        recording an image, dredging

the lakes of your pupils.

What dead you find there

you cannot save.

Kyle McCord is the author of five books of poetry including You Are Indeed an Elk, But This is Not the Forest You Were Born to Graze (Gold Wake 2015) and Gentle, World, Gentler (Ampersand Books 2015). His third book was selected as one of five books of the year by the Poetry Foundation blog. He has work featured in Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly and elsewhere. He’s received grants from the Academy of American Poets, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Baltic Writing Residency. He co-edits iO: A Journal of New American Poetry. He lives and teaches in Des Moines, Iowa, and is completing his PhD in creativing writing at the the University of North Texas.