National Poetry Month Day 29: W. Todd Kaneko


W. Todd Kaneko is the author of The Dead Wrestler Elegies (Curbside Splendor 2014) and co-author of Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury Academic 2018). His poems and prose have appeared in The Normal School, Barrelhouse, the Collagist, NANO Fiction, and many other journals and anthologies. A Kundiman fellow, he is Co-Editor and Poetry Editor of Waxwing and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he teaches at Grand Valley State University.


after Metallica

Pinch of dust
in the emaciated light,

like dusky fog settling quiet
from closet to bedpost.

A child’s prayer,
wish for safety, so useless

when without death
all we can think about is death.

Compare the eye
to the teeth, the fist

to the sun hovering
over the horizon—

everything must close
when that flutter of wings

announces it’s time to enter
that space where your ghosts

hunger for memory,
your ancestors gathered

into a forest of statues,
a dreamscape of rubble.

Hush, little baby—don’t say
anything about the way

the world looks more menacing
with your eyes squeezed tight.

Say there is no such thing
as fear, no such thing as sin—

if only there were some
safe place we could go.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →