Nance Van Winckel

The centaur wants his hairy haunches

kissed. And a girl's beautiful lips

approach. Hesitate. The black flies

circling. Out of one log story

many short ones. She closes

her eyes. She kisses.


No one knows the past through the garden

that leads to the wild world. Old women

point—Here! here!—but if they knew

they'd be gone. They've squandered their weight

in breadcrumbs to the big-mouthed crows.


Tiny graves, and this month's deluge

of slim crosses. Bandages soaked in vinegar

for our foreheads. A talk of the centaur's

pure trickery. Not to love the girl, but to ride

off with her. The way out of the garden

was always up. Her white petticoats wrap him,

her gown a trough through the wind.


Vanished. Gone from us as so long

predicted. No one stops the executioner/

We can't deny we were told.

Found In Volume 26, No. 05
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Nance Van Winckel
About the Author
Nance Van Winckel’s sixth book of poems, Pacific Walkers and her fourth collection of stories, 
Boneland, were published in 2013.