The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Priya Keefe

Plane Talk


Shine a light in a frog’s eyes
to catch it. I can clean a frog in 30 seconds
flat. I ate squirrel brain once, didn’t like it. I don’t know
who is running for President.
A stick of margarine in the boil will soften crawfish shells
for easy peeling. You can always wear gloves. Some people do that.
I pray every day but don’t set foot in a church. I use to go to a
Pentecostal church. No, not a snake handlin church.
People got the Holy Ghost every Sunday.
My mamma is voting for Trump.
Well, I don’t know about that,
but I know Obama spent too much money on his daughter’s birthday
party with Elton John. You know that didn’t come out of his pocket.
No politician can be trusted. I met Bobby Jindal once. He had a
handshake like a wet noodle. I figure
that told me everything I needed to know.



Priya Keefe



I left my kin at an airport, a cornfield’s edge, a curb. A sudden heavy rain helps farewell. Why is it so hard this time? It’s hard every time. But now I am _________ and ____________.
I just woke up and realized I haven’t gone to class all semester. I don’t know how to calculate how behind I am.
I can’t write about a NY rooftop, stars muted like jazz trumpet. I can’t write what it’s like to belong for more than a little while. Someone keeps raising the rent on this body and one day I will be evicted. Or I will leave, trailing my burden like a comet’s tail behind me. Will I be free.
I can’t write about what it’s like to be brave. One day I heard a voice: Do the thing that scares you. I go to lindy hop, open mic. I try navigating without the GPS.
Growing up, we had a black and white TV; you turned the channel with a knob on the set – kachunk kachunk. Now I press hard on the remote, but it doesn’t make that sound.



Priya Keefe

First Meal in Rochester, NY


You took me to Walmart at midnight. You didn’t know
the city. I was still resolving
the pixels of your face after three months apart.
We hung our heads as we crossed the threshold,
but you didn’t have groceries. I didn’t know it then,
but you didn’t have curtains, either.
The cashier checked us out,
tapping the register with 9-inch corkscrew nails
while we cuddled under fluorescent lights
and a dozen cameras recorded our reunion.




PRIYA KEEFE's poetry has appeared on a Dublin lamppost and in Seattle buses.  It is floating around the internet and slaying trees in Outlook Springs, Hoot, The Nervous Breakdown, and elsewhere.  Priya likes to talk to strangers at bus stops and sometimes on Twitter (@priyakeefe).



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