Empty Poem



A field cannot be empty, only full

of fieldness. A factory near the tracks


next to a field can be empty. A home

is often empty. Sometimes the train


goes so quickly for so long,

it becomes difficult


to think of ever walking again,

the delicacy of that motion


to which the entire body commits itself.

And sometimes the heart turns


into an engine, surging

at the thought of being elsewhere, elated


that, so solid a muscle,

it persists, even through Trenton,


or seeing some old church in Pennsylvania,

the steeple cardboarded


against the dead-computer sky.

I’ve been in a suburb before, though


it’s so long since I was outside of something,

but not so far away as to be elsewhere.



Trevor Ketner holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota. They have been published in Best New Poets, Ninth Letter, West Branch, Pleiades, The Offing, Memorious, BOAAT and elsewhere. Their essays and reviews can be found in The Kenyon Review, Boston Review, Lambda Literary, and Library Journal. Their chapbook Major Arcana: Minneapolis won the 2017 Burnside Review Chapbook Contest judged by Diane Seuss and will be published in 2018. Their website is trevordaneketner.com.