“When You Tell Me That You Feel Alone” by Sam Killmeyer

Sam Killmeyer


how am I supposed to feel anything
but the worn basin ringed with trees sighing

through grey November days stretched out
like the cat, wet on my front porch,

waking in the morning cold and knowing only
the urge to be smothered under bed covers.

When you tell me that you feel alone
I think of standing on the grey prairie

with the sky too big for me, thoughts
blown out by common milkweed’s face,

body scraped hollow with a wrought-iron ladle
and flooded with all that was, will be, might become.

When you tell me that you feel alone
I remember being a struck lightning rod

floating above the earth, charged but nothing
through which to ground out the flames.

from Rattle #56, Summer 2017
Tribute to Poets with Mental Illness


Sam Killmeyer: “I moved to Kansas from Cleveland the summer after graduating college. I was 21 and had never been west of Indiana. That fall the Flint Hills were gold-brown, crisp from drought, and standing under the giant prairie sky I felt my ‘I’ shatter. In some ways, that breakdown made room for the glimpsing of other lives that makes my poetry possible.”

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