Les Kay is the author of Fronts (Sundress Publications, forthcoming 2016), and the chapbooks The Bureau (Sundress Publications, 2015) and Badass (Lucky Bastard Press, 2015), as well as a co-author of Heart Radicals with Sandra Marchetti, Allie Marini, and Janeen Pergrin Rastall. He holds a PhD with a focus on Creative Writing from the University of Cincinnati and an MFA from the University of Miami, where he was a James Michener Fellow. His poetry has appeared widely in journals such as The Collagist, Redactions, South Dakota Review, Southern Humanities Review, Sugar House Review, Whiskey Island, and The White Review. He is also an Associate Editor for Stirring: A Literary Collection. He currently lives in Cincinnati where he teaches writing and cares for three small dogs. Follow him at www.leskay.com.

L E S   K A Y 

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

T H A T   F I R S T   S U M M E R   J O B



We chased cottonmouths 
deep into the creeks that
            split the public parks, left
            our chrome bicycles prone  
in clay mud along the oak-
lined banks; canopies, green
             as crayons, gave shade to 
             our beatings of bush, stone,
earth as if the trees themselves
somehow knew from our cat-
            quick moves and our moth-
            like flight how much our scheme 
meant to us, so gave a cloak
of broad, bristling leaves to
            protect our pasty skin from 
            the sun’s arc as our stories 
of what each of us would do
once we caught that critter
           by the neck or by the tail,
           echoed down the creekbed,
and I boasted, as only a boy
could, that I would fling 
            my catch into the first black
            Cadillac that passed on the
nearest street, but we never
caught anything more 
            venomous than a little oak, 
            a cache of bright fire ants, 
and, alas, our selves.