July/Aug 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 4 Poetry |

The Scarlet Macaw

The Kenyon Review · Two Poems and a Note by Sandra Meek A fable: There was a valley, the clearest stream, ancestral trees we nested. All was emerald, then, all petal-dappled breath, all crest and ascent. What the handed dreaded kept them at bay: the selva’s brambled maze, gnarled stranglers, the snake- threaded dark—what we knew heart and beak, eye and claw. When the dam came—when they sank the valley—the axed trees bled. The stream starved beneath the wall that held the lake’s wakeless swell, all the trapped, legged beasts. Strange new planet, all freefall: the trees dawn-daggered; the selva, hacked, day-drenched. Penetrable. They came, then, the harvesters, the desperate landless; they macheted the xaté, black-market palm that graced the selva’s brake, heart-shaped leaves that severed last all Lent: a desert’s fast as feast—at least, each sheath a few days they’d eat. Wrecked beneath the lake, never-excavated temples emerged as clay shards t

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Photo of Sandra Meek

Sandra Meek is the author of six books of poems, most recently Still (Persea Books, 2020), named a New & Noteworthy Poetry Book by The New York Times Book Review. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Poetry and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, she has three times been awarded Georgia Author of the Year in Poetry and twice the Peace Corps Writers Award in Poetry. Dana Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Writing at Berry College, Meek is also poetry editor of the Phi Kappa Phi Forum.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.