“Four of Arrows” by Emma Karnes

Emma Karnes (age 15)


one: the seizing clench in your knuckles,
white, but you hold them still.
two: the man’s eyes when he sees you
shell cracked like burning revelation
mind flashing “home”—you don’t know
where, he does.
three: the shaft is flying, trail of lifelines visible like
smoke behind it, seen by you, him, and
who else?
four: in his chest, in his chest, in his chest.
victorious that settles hard and black
where you will kiss your children tonight.
grey sky slumbering over your roofs and
cemeteries, though
it does not ask your name,
it shadows your steps
like a man
with no
reason. reason: rains
and winds will soak
you until
the earth splits and sieges,
fire and flood

from 2016 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Emma Karnes: “I like to write poetry because it allows me to interact with the world around me in an artistic way, and, in doing so, to create something beautiful.”

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