Kara van de Graaf is a dissertator in creative writing at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the anthology Best New Poets 2010, Ninth Letter, Indiana Review, and other journals. She is Poetry Editor of Cream City Review.
Red matchstick I thumb alive and send
ahead of me through the dark little emissary,
little locket of light that lets the eye wick
to the cellar’s walls, the green line of mineral
where flood rises up waist-high. Groundwater
seethes through cracks in the mortar, laces
between stones, their flat smooth faces
already buried. All night I ferry
buckets to the surface. All night my fingers
seam together and I climb, my sleeping
like one long flight of stairs, my bucket
like a mouth that won’t drown. In the end,
I envied the bucket. The way all things
that are empty want to be filled.