David Koehn

Shadow Thief

Do not wonder why he was not postage stamp maker, filmmaker, or mortician. Not Rorschach test, not symptom of pareidolia, not haunting, he sidesteps and turns.

(His daydream of Joseph Cornell premiering Rose Hobart, the inflamed Salvador Dali knocking the camera to the floor because Cornell had stolen the picture from his subconscious, distracts him from the task at hand.)

The projectionist knows exactly the light he likes, light gray at the edges, light flickering with hesitation as if illumination itself were worn out: the essential quality of a former self—light, to him, like God’s.

Night’s window catches him praying, his umbra (the blackest part of a shadow from which all light is cut off) a distinct torso.

You happen when he steals the music box—silver edging, brass‐tacked leather, tongue clasp snapped in lock’s dark latch—off the mantle. Opened.

Around the dancer’s spinning legs orbits a tin ring—all dusk, through a tall corridor, a blind alley follows the thief home. Her paint, pale and worn but for the tiny dashes of where he touched–up her red lips.

David Koehn ’s first full length manuscript, Twine, won the 2013 May Sarton Poetry Prize. His poetry and translations were previously collected in two chapbooks, Tunic, (SpeCt! Books 2013) a small collection of Catullus translations, and Coil (University of Alaska 1998), winner of the Midnight Sun Chapbook Contest. Koehn received his BA from Carnegie Mellon and his MFA from the University of Florida. David is the Chair of the Advisory Board for Omnidawn Press. His website can be found at davidkoehn.com.