Kevin Rabas

The Shouting Incident

Our admin yells at a student admin downstairs,
    and the volleys of emails, like shellings, begin,
the explanations, the summaries of the incident,
    the demands and calls for reprimand. Evenings,
I sleep too long, nurse a new lump
    along the back of my head; stress, I think;
and when dawn comes, I imagine white doves, lifting,
    fluttering home, carrying olive branches
to people we hardly know.
For Lisa, a Valentine

You grasped my hand,
and we took
to the icy sidewalk
on our way
from your city apartment
to Barnes & Noble,
the plaza holiday lights
like fireflies—
that candle night, blink
love signals
across an indigo sky,
like my eyes flash
when I catch yours,
hold sight.
Grocery, Between Stops

I go to the grocery store,
    get a green pepper and one that’s orange,
little boiling onions, pineapple chunks in a can,
    and ask if Reebles has kabob sticks,
and the lady with the machine in her hands
    says yes, leads me.
I browse around the pre-made meals;
    vegan, I find three-bean salad among the meat
and potatoes, and take the vinegary mix,
    which drips in my car,
near the stick and on the seat,
    and I pop the trunk, pull
a beach towel out
    and wipe the drops. It’s like
being an adjunct
    again, eating between stops.
Rabas bio head shot photo EV (1)

Kevin Rabas teaches at Emporia State University, where he leads the poetry and playwriting tracks. He has seven books, including Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner. He currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Kansas.