David Keplinger

October 18, 2021 Keplinger David

It has been so long since anyone has touched it, the fossil of the dead child’s thumbprint has hardened on the surface of the grease. The can belonged to my grandfather, who often scolded us for lathering our faces with hot cream in the barber shop, eating the bubble gum for other children, or kicking over the pail with layers of hair going black to white, the bottom layers so thin, they dissolved in the phosphor glow of florescent light. The dead child must have found this, too. Or this could be my own thumbprint, the child I was being dead, half skinny raptor body, half bird like my cousin who climbed the brickwork to the roof.

David Keplinger’s eighth collection of poetry, Everlastingness, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in 2023. In 2020, he was selected for the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America. A recipient of the Colorado Book Award, the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Cavafy Prize, and two fellowships from the NEA, his collection Another City was selected for the UNT Rilke Prize in 2019. He lives in Washington D.C. and teaches at American University.