swing-shift ruckus

Kathleen Winter

cool mud   a cut
whose red hugs bone
where slag rock sank
through his leather
hide below an eye
all spilling out

from Larch’s bar
when their tough words
took bite to spoil
the blue kiss of
our drink bruise each
man’s wavering

cloud of self
frog-quick to leap
hot for the throat
of him who’d doubt
its strength       say Dog

—enough to start it

Kathleen Winter is the author of Nostalgia for the Criminal Past, which won the 2013 Texas Institute of Letters first book award. The collection I will not kick my friends won the 2017 Elixir Poetry Prize.
Originally published:
November 1, 2017


From the Editors

Our Most-Read Poems of 2021

You Might Also Like


For a Dog

Ryan Wilson



Feminism, identity, and the willingness to be defeated
Maria Tumarkin


The Wild, Sublime Body

Learning how to be human
Melissa Febos


This holiday season, give The Yale Review to someone you love. For a limited time, enjoy 10% off all subscriptions with code HOLIDAY2021 at checkout.