Casey Killingsworth

At the acupuncturist’s

At the acupuncturist’s I mention 
something about my age and then
realize how silly that sounds, how I could
be that old, could be sixteen high school
careers, older than three people turning
the legal drinking age. It sounds like a joke
from the waiting room, like some 25 year old
is trying to be funny by referring
to himself as an old man.

Some flightless dove followed me
around the yard yesterday. He had no place
left to go, because where can a dove go who
can’t use the sky anymore? So I fed him
and for a second thought about what results
a rescue might bring for a pet dove, for instance,
if there might be acupuncture for birds

or something, but to retrieve him
might be more unbalanced than the cat
we both knew was waiting in the weeds.
I told myself this, that maybe the dove recognized
the objective nature of the world of death
more than I did and maybe he was okay with it all.

But right now I wish I knew an old legend,
from some culture I can’t even pronounce,
that tells something about the dove turning
into a hawk, with new wings, and I wish it said
something about me telling a joke about my age,
or maybe even just a little hope to entertain us as
we’re waiting for the acupuncturist,
waiting for the cat.

Casey Killingsworth’s work has appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, 3rd Wednesday (forthcoming), Two Thirds North, and other journals. His book of poems, A Handbook for Water, was published by Cranberry Press in 1995. As well he has a book on the poetry of Langston Hughes, The Black and Blue Collar Blues (VDM, 2008). Casey has a Master’s degree from Reed College.