Kevin Heaton



Tonight the ballroom hovers reminiscences.

Black widows pardon love interests

and tailor them in bolts of silk.

Grandfather strokes toll, twelve times

wraps salvation hands around midnight.

The viola handsaws harmony

it’s maple still praising the breeze

daring the violin to spin Tupelo honey:

give it a whirl.

The mantle urn is empty:

ashes pirouette giggles through candelabra flickers

wispy gowns twirl to spinet rag

empty goblets phantom mortal feelings

latent toes tap patent leather to yellowed pine

ghosts waltz spent heartbeats into new souls.

Death comes a little down.




Blue-Sky Cloudmen dreamed brother wolf

danced like a ghost to willow songs

on forks between two rivers.

They gripped the flowing robes of God,

and ran to feel his pleasure. We stood

tall like “Mother Corn” in harvest

fields filled with pumpkins and beans:

ripened our faces with the juice

from wild plums. Vultures bleached

the bones of our enemies and the children

bathed in sweet streams, but owls

with greasy beaks came to spit darkness

into our council fires. They perched

on the sight of holy men seeking the ‘good

medicine.’ Our flutes breathed fever.

The people choked on white clay dust

and drowned in sand on the banks

of big-bellied water. We gazed

into the Spirit World through eyes

from behind a mask of death.


“Orator of the Plains”


He spoke a vision for the future
in the council of his people,

eloquently boasting warpath
and vengeance to conestogas raping

ancient beasts from the horizon.
He dipped the beak of his war axe

in the skull chalice of presumed
dominion; counting coup

throughout Rancheria, peeling
scalps to Mexico.


Kevin Heaton’s latest chapbook, “Kevin Heaton-Breaking Ground,” is at His work has appeared in: Elimae, Nibble, The Raleigh Review, Pure Francis, The Catalonian Review, and many others. He is listed as a notable poet at:


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