Devil’s Lake

Fall 2016 Issue

Trevor Ketner: A Spell Called Home


The first thing to arrive

in the new apartment,

even before us, is light.

The second is also light

and the third is a chunk

of that great solidity, sleep,

which is the result of light—

light’s passing yielding it.

To rest better I remove my eyes,

slip a bone from my jaw,

and swallow it. It dissolves

and I sleep, and I don’t.

I find a robin egg, set it in

the bathroom mirror

until it petrifies

and swallow that too.

Sleep seems to me to be

a certain breed of consumption—

unrelenting, sated

as often as it arises.


Forty, hot minutes of doors at the ends of cars

slamming open like mouths with a grinding shout

then closing, or not, the small human flame

passing through to the next car like it’s Pentecost

and each car is a disciple which it is—

a follower of the car before and the one after

following and the one after and the one after.

The ghost we will sublet from keeps rescheduling

the meeting when we will mark a sheet

saying we will give what must be given to take up space,

that we will give what is asked of us.


Dusk black emerald dome

in the woods where my parents lived—

needle planetarium of dazzle orchids.

After being raised in church,

after leaving,

I am still

a rapture stalker—

blackberry blackberry blackberry smog.

Our holy ghost ferries milk

in used-to-be-sand bottles

to the over-lit threshold.

I sleep with the milkman


so many ways to heat blood.

Poet Trevor Ketner TREVOR KETNER holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota. His work has been or will be published in Best New Poets 2015, Day One, West Branch, Pleiades, The Offing, Lambda Literary, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. His essays and reviews can be found in Boston Review, The Rumpus, and The Collagist. He was a resident at the Vermont Studio Center, received the 2014 Gesell Award in Poetry, and is Associate Poetry Editor for Slice Magazine. More from this issue >