The Department of the Interior

Poetry Eric Kocher

I’m not even sure I believe
in boundaries
but there’s all this evidence
of what goes on inside
seeping up
to the surface
like so much unwanted tar
I keep finding
myself stuck in
myself the means of my
becoming all too apparent
to everyone
at least once
thanks one of their organs
everyone can have a calm
dog if they want one
if they don’t mind
the pervasive sense
that intruders
lurking outside
will remain unbarked at
coveters of a place around
the hearth
the heart the hard-
worked-for stuff
regulated by the department
with my skin acting sort of
like an advisory committee
making the bylaws
by which the world is kept
in or out of reach
depending on whether
or not you classify
the empty space
within your stomach
as becoming overwhelmingly
tight every time
I remember
I will never be able to save
any of them that I love
and the longer
I wanted to stay
exactly the same
as I was only going to stay
for a minute
before I knew I had
lost sovereignty
over things like quality
assessment and ambitious
grief occurring as a result
of TV shows about high
school football
where on the one side
there’s just small town
coming together under
the most unlikely
of circumstances
while on the other
there stands
in nicer uniforms
their rivals
and the world and literally
everything else.

“Each new issue feels like a public report from many individual private spheres.” —Antoine Wilson

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Issue 19



Fall 2013


Eric Kocher’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2011, the Boston Review, Octopus, and elsewhere. He lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he recently served as writer-in-residence for the Hub City Writers Project.


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