Kyle Dargan


King for a Day


Seize a foothill from the ridges peering
godly from the north. Break them.
Let chisel and sledge                reduce them to torso-
and skull-sized chunks. Raise earth
into a motte. Set your inner castle’s stones.
Erect around that keep
twelve defensive towers
and adjoining curtain walls.
Above the battlements, set on pikes, fly like flags
the hands             and feet             of your enemies.
You will need still a proper flag—
something to hang
as pennant, emblazoned with the family
crest you bear. And by you
what is embodied is the royal
we—the serfs and knights and smiths
who bejewel your crown. And your crown
being nothing more than your one skull,
and yet a head            you believe so precious
whole geologies had to be re-formed        around it.
O, patchwork                       mountain. O, cold abode
of rock. What         little defense this will afford you
when comes tomorrow                the age of cannons.




I Know You from the Screen


the one smooth as a subcutaneous window
in my pocket’s denim. It burns
a high-definition
bas-relief into my hind. I am
a good viewer. (Good: I am trained in the new
literacy of little faces
on screens.)           Hello. We
have met many times. We have
(and it was only years ago that that was
slag for sex—the unidirectional prodding kind
since relegated
to troglodyte erotics).      Our intimacy is next gen.
I know you from the screens
or rather
the backlit
air grafting             itself to my sleep
starved irises—lens upon lens with no
magnification. I still
mostly struggle to see you, or to see something
other than rapid afterimages—your real-time ancestors—
stop-motioning their way into the present, yet never
fast enough for me.



Kyle Dargan is the author of five poetry collections and the founder and Editor of POST NO ILLS magazine. An Associate Professor and Assistant Director of Creative Writing at American University, he lives and writes in Washington, D.C. For more information about Dargan and his work, visit

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