The Morning Newspaper

Imagine a Caravaggio. This is the style: black subtropic night

with a mouth of grey opening to a white scream in the center. Red.

The ochre tongue of a headlight. Three bodies skewed and all sinews,

contorted. The muscling of religious-based guilt. The glutton grounded,

facedown in the dust road of an outskirt, a place with the appearance of

not having ‘regular’ time. Not red but wine in his gashes.

A white T-shirt up around his shoulders. Pixelated depths in his lighted flesh.

One hand on the body, a woman half smiles for the camera,

for the morning newspaper, and the jump-suited vendors who will peddle

this rendering of tragedy to rush-hour drivers:

stalled, guilted, famished. This woman. She is the focal point, the left of center

star that understands us, here in our cars, and grieves in way that skirts death.

This woman loved this man. She did not love this man. It’s all there in

dark and light. Then, in light and dark. An overhead brightness hauls her bare shoulders

into blindwhite, casts her form against the wall of the night. Throws her.

The third figure, gaunt, is collapsed over the body. Why love, we ask. Thinness stark

in a tight tank top. A gaudy, knockoff belt drags at his core. The belt is some kind of

symbolism: doused celebration, the failed talisman of consumerism, sobered

playfulness of brothers. The uncanny-ism of violent ballads: money, whichever vice,

Gucci, Gucci, Prada, Prada, and death. Boy, keep your head down.

Keep the stalkers of the morning news out of your eyes.


Here at the interminate red light we count the ways

we’ve not died.  We remember the one who loves us and doesn’t love us all the same.

We recall the law of the land. A fresco. The chiaroscuro of our childhood church.

Guilty, guilty, pleasure, pleasure         and the light changes.

Kimberly Kruge is the author of the collection of poetry Ordinary Chaos (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2018) and the chapbook High-Land Sub-Tropic, which won the 2017 Center for Book Arts Chapbook Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, The Denver Quarterly, Copper Nickel, RHINO and many other publications. She is the recipient of a residency fellowship at the Millay Colony for the Arts and the founder of Comala Haven, a retreat for women writers. She lives and works in Guadalajara, Mexico.