How My Existentially Problematic Novel Unfolds

Out on the lawn, you spear the steak.
You show its black flank to the sun
like a bear examining a bit of gypsum.
Only he would not conceive
of it as gypsum, honestly, only
not-fish.  Not-berry.
The first negative theologian
may have been a bear.
Your heart may be many bears
beating their bike chains
and tire irons together.
I can’t prove otherwise.
This is a democracy,
so it’s your word against
my science.  My science
against this feeling that we are
often not alone when we are
often alone, I fear.
We are taking out the garbage
into the desolation
of some suburb,
but we don’t want this
in particular.
I ruin everything with my wanting.
You just go on spearing
in the dimming afternoon.
Spear the rib-eye,
spear the uncomfortable neighborly feeling,
and then really glare it down
like it deserves.
Your terrible bear heart
humbling me
with its solemn growls.
How it got in there,
I can’t testify.
I think I know what
is happening at this barbeque,
when I don’t.
All around me
teen melodrama unfolds.
Someone else’s terrible adventure
is just beginning.


Kyle McCord is the author of three books of poetry including Sympathy from the Devil (Gold Wake Press 2013).  He has work featured in Boston ReviewDenver QuarterlyGulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Third Coast and elsewhere.  He’s received grants or awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Baltic Writing Residency.  Along with Wendy Xu, he co-edits iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, and he is lead content editor for LitBridge.  He teaches at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX.


  1. Pingback: Issue One, May 1st, 2013 | Matter
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