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Published: Mon Jul 1 2013
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.

There are dragonflies in Manhattan
I learn when one uses me to rest.
I keep as still as I can, to be now
what I haven’t been to any person,
a refuge, steady, reliable.
No one made me this way
any more than the sky makes
the dragonfly stagger when
a starling crosses overhead.
That’s what I say to myself.
Were it to breathe fire on my finger
I would feel it as the pinch
of someone who wants
to believe he is dreaming.
Few of the boats driven
on the summer water
have carved dragonfly
prows, though wings
were oars on oars
before anything not
meant for water went there.

Dore Kiesselbach studied creative writing at Oberlin College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, then practiced housing law in New York City for several years before refocusing on poetry post-9/11. He is the author of two poetry collections: Albatross (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017) and Salt Pier (Pittsburgh, 2012), which received the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize and contains work awarded the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and Britain’s Bridport Prize in poetry. His writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Pleiades, Plume, Stand, AGNI, and elsewhere. He lives in Minneapolis. (updated 10/2017)

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