Kevin Prufer

Plastic Bag Caught in a Tree
August 9, 2014 Prufer Kevin

Plastic Bag Caught in a Tree


Some dark animal’s

sloughed-off skin.


Bit of the night sky

snagged on a limb.


Black as a lung that wheezes

in the oil-thick breeze.


Eyeless hood,

shroud, or veil. Yesterday, a caught


paratrooper cut the cords

and fell through the branches,


leaving behind his chute.

The snagged soul


can never quite escape,

so the wind makes a flag of it,


makes a black thought of it.

We are bags filled with bones


and blood. I couldn’t stop thinking

and then my thought slipped out,


and now look—it’s rippling

in the high branches.

Poet and editor Kevin Prufer was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned degrees from Wesleyan University, Hollins University, and Washington University. His work, which has been praised for its elegiac attention to the banalities of the contemporary United States, includes In a Beautiful Country (2011), a finalist for the Rilke Prize and listed as a 2011 Notable Book by the Academy of American Poets, and National Anthem (2008), named best poetry book of the year by the Virginia Quarterly Review. Other collections of poetry include Fallen From a Chariot (2005), The Finger Bone (2002, reissued 2013), and Strange Wood (1997). A bilingual edition of Prufer’s poetry appeared in Germany as Wir wollten Amerika finden: ausgewählte Gedichte: zweisprachig (2011), selected and translated by Norbert Lange and Susanna Mewe.