Trio House Press
publishing distinct voices in poetry
since 2012

X-Rays and Other Landscapes by Kyle McCord

Kyle McCord is the author of five books of poetry, including National Poetry Series Finalist Magpies in the Valley of Oleanders (Trio House Press, 2016).  He has work featured in AGNIBlackbirdBoston ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewThe Harvard ReviewThe Kenyon ReviewPloughsharesTriQuarterly, and elsewhere.  He has received grants or awards from The Academy of American Poets, The Vermont Studio Center, and the Baltic Writing Residency.  He serves as Co-Executive Editor of Gold Wake Press.  He teaches at Drake University in Des Moines, where he lives with his wife, visual artist Lydia McCord, and son, August.

My Father Considering His Brain Scan



No clouds just the wickless horizon

like a Rothko black on black


an unfeeling wall of pigment

why not junipers here


why not wands of cowbane and waterdock

tracing riverbeds on the leaden hill


it’s tough not to read this

dark matter as allegory


my cancer is thick and undulating

the invisible weight of nebulas


what part of me is left in this image

let’s redraft


think Seurat’s “Grande Jatte”—

a young mother to parade


swarming leaves

the yacht doubled


and swimming in the waters

children who will not be mastered—


anything but what is there reality

so dull when one can bargain with paint—


the boy whose swan body could carry him

far beyond the canvas ship


if only these winds were fair if only

these waters would still


the boy could outswim this current

I would paint him crabapples


fallen in a ditch eat of them

boy and know nothing