Katharine Rauk

Early Explorers Sometimes Carried Watermelons Instead of Canteens & Close Your Eyes
September 24, 2021 Rauk Katharine



Ever cut open a watermelon
and smell wind coming
towards you across a lake
though you’re just standing
alone in winter’s kitchen?
The happy heart
is a problem, wrote Jack
in a private letter to me
on page 87 of a book
I found in the library.
There are jolts and miracles
on every shelf in every aisle
of every orchard under every
sky—like the stars
which are much too beautiful
to believe. They will hurt you
almost as much as your life,
the way you keep wanting to take
all the wrong-sized things
and make them fit this world.
Dear Jack, have you ever hidden
a watermelon under your shirt?
Ever had faith in something
that sounds hollow when ripe?




John of the Cross takes out his Sharpie
and inks a pupil on your lid.
Do you know an animal
has just enough oil in her brain
to tan her own hide? This process
is called poetry. Count the flames
hovering at the edge of the horizon.
Are those planets? Are they skies?
John of the Cross is touching your temples,
now he is draping about your shoulders
a most magnificent coat.

Katharine Rauk is the author of Buried Choirs (Tinderbox Editions, 2016) and the chapbook Basil (Black Lawrence Press, 2011). She has poems published in Sixth Finch, DIAGRAM, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Harvard Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Best of the Net, and other journals. She teaches writing at North Hennepin Community College in Minnesota.