Kay Mullen

Out of the Alphabet Horn


tumbles the fruit and fire of my life,
the heart and harvest of words.
As a child I learned to breathe soft O’s
and Ah’s, click T’s and K’s, letters

strung like beads of stone.
Our ancestors survived on oxen, inverted
the yoke to form A. Clans clung to seeds
of insight and drew a bow on the eye

of history. They predicted with patterns:
B hogans standing to guard the rivers,
V hooks for prodding horses with H-fence
protections, O’s in the eyes of osprey,

M’s estuary. Letters tumbled to me
over centuries. Even Einstein withdrew
from questions of monkey tail’s Q,
astonished at history ahead of itself.

There is always room in the beta
for the Buddha, bract of the scauler willow,
women with eyes in their hands,
drawing the unpredictable bow.


“Out of the Alphabet Horn” is reprinted from Tattoos on Cedar, 2006.



Kay Mullen’s work has appeared in a variety of poetry journals and anthologies, most recent journals: Valparaiso Poetry Journal, Appalachia, Wrist Magazine, San Pedro River Review. She has authored three full-length poetry collections, Let Morning Begin, 2001, A Long Remembering: Return to Vietnam, 2006, and most recent, Even the Stones, 2012. Kay received an MFA in poetry, Rainier Writing Workshop,Pacific Lutheran University.


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