R. Riekki

Three Poems

Ann Beattie

I studied with her. She wanted us to put our hearts on the cliff-edge. I read her stories. They snatch away at the truth. She used to look out the window during class. Birds flew by with the intensity of heat. She said our stories weren't shaking her into nightmares, weren't taking her past life's ridge. I think I learned from her that we need to step off walls. We need to fail as writers. We need to scissor our lives. But I think that most of us just don't know how. She does.

Kendrah McKay

A friend tried to call me today, but the phone call was disconnected. I have no idea where she is, haven’t heard from her in fifteen years. Her voice has cigarettes in it. I could only get her name, hellos, then she was gone, no return number. She didn’t try to call back. Just mystery. I like it better that way. The strangeness of it, almost a horror. How did she get my number? What's happened to her after all these years? I look at my phone; it’s asleep. The night is a hole in my head. There are so many guilty winters to this lifetime. So much bad light.

Everybody, Open Up Your Hymn Books

In Chicoutimi we kissed overlooking a valley. I’ve held onto that moment for thirty-eight years. In the sunstroke of youth and the heart failure of old age I pray I’ll find myself on another hill with another girl named Brooke and all the time in the world like then.

R. Riekki's novel U.P. was dubbed Best Book of 2009 by Canadian book blog website Handle Like Hendrix. It's been one of Ghost Road Press's top ten bestselling books for over 70 weeks: www.amazon.com/u-p-R-Riekki/dp/0979625564