Inventory of Ramparts
The pier shed its longsplinters into the lake.A dinghy rubbed the side of the dockbut the dock was still.Some kids ditched a canoe in the reeds—the boy's voice was a reed—they pulled it up the embankment by a ropewhere no one could see it from wateror shore. His voice covered everything.This isn't an opportunity to talk about the body,how many dogs you get to have overthe course of a life. I'd reckon 6, if you takegood care of them. I'm going back in timeto hold the boy's head underwater.Just to give him a little scare. The canoehad vanished when they returnedand his voice became a basketpushed down a river—nothing specific—and anyway, this isn't an occasion to talkabout the body. I'm busy going, I needto go, back through those boggy years to kissall of the dogs. Hard, on the mouth.
Copyright © 2019 by Paige Ackerson-Kiely
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
The poems in Paige Ackerson-Kiely's third collection are set primarily in the rural northeast of America, and explore rural poverty, entrapment, captivity, violence, and a longing to vanish. Ranging from free verse to a long noir prose poem, they examine who her, or our, "captors" might be. Ackerson-Kiely is interested in characters who are aware of their foibles, and who find ways to turn away from those problems in search of connection and freedom.
“Ackerson-Kiely’s talent for the uncanny is extraordinary. Her ability to create entire atmospheres through single lines elevates her poems to something approaching the oracular, while never straying from the colloquial and the quotidian . . . Dolefully, a Rampart Stands announces a pastoral poetry for the 21st Century . . . a brilliantly disquieting collection.”
—Rain Taxi Review
“Playful, punchy, clever, and strange, Ackerson-Kiely’s poems are on-rhythm and off-center . . . some of the most unique pieces you’ll read this year.”
—The Millions, “Must-Read Poetry”
“Dark, yet brimming with life.”
“Ackerson-Kiely sketches a landscape in which sexism and economic oppression are indelibly linked . . . [revealing] the ways that power, censorship, and disbelief are internalized, as they live with us in our most solitary moments, and they circumscribe what is possible within our dreaming.”
—Kristina Marie Darling, Kenyon Review