Sean Patrick Hill

eggshells and bones in the trash under the

needles we pluck from the rug after
the holidays

sidewalk dusted with blue salt
grains of which get caught and dragged in
under our soles

this is the book
the kid runs away and dies in the snow

the ghost
in the machine we’re all dying
to throw ourselves into

The Emperor’s Nightingale

The song goes something like this: A kind of pining binds us in muslin and butcher’s string. Only now have we begun to see to what extent we are unwritten. Leaves, integers, moths–of course we are machines in the ghost. I never said I wanted everything I touch to resemble gold.


The imagined field was only an initial approach, a break in
a fence over unmarked snow.

Like the good Americans we are, we recognize implicitly
the abandoned silo in the corn.

How is it we forget that some of us are not allowed to be

Sean Patrick Hill is the author of The Imagined Field (Paper Kite Press, 2010) and Interstitial (BlazeVOX Books, forthcoming 2001). He is the recipient of the 2010 Zoland Fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center. Poems appear in New York Quarterly and Unsaid Magazine. He lives and teaches in Louisville, Kentucky.

“I once saw, in the Rockwell Museum in upstate NY, a film of Corning (where I was born) during the Flood of 1972; in it, my grandmother appears, rocking on her front porch, the flood waters right up to the front step. She lived three blocks up a hill, and the rest of the town was underwater.”