ISSUE THIRTEEN: Ye, Smelly Tsar | next poem →

After the Election: A Cento for Dawn McGuire

Kathleen McClung

We’d each been poisoned at least once.
But I know when a bird
won’t fly again—
some things are unbearable, who knows why.
The fireball, the anthrax spore,
the empty socket, its incendiary beam
of pain in bone.
Sometimes you just want a sign of what you
could have been.
Even now the tiny villages on stilts
are starting to tremble
until a blade of light pries open
the next day—
he with the terrible nest
of bees he sees dropping from the ceiling.
You take it personally. Then not.
How ancient this borrowed body,
smooth as sweetgrass after a wind.
I bring you my unknowing. We do the best
we can, lost down some tree
that lightning struck.
Even now the identity thief is riffling through your trash
refusing to put her change purse down.
She doesn’t remember her homeland.
Sometimes you get only a day’s notice, what do you take?

Lines from The Aphasia Café (2012) and Hands On (2001).

Kathleen McClung, author of Almost the Rowboat, has poems in Mezzo Cammin, Unsplendid, Atlanta Review, Heron Tree, Zoomorphic, Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace, and elsewhere. Associate director of the Soul-Making Keats literary competition, she won the Rita Dove and Shirley McClure poetry prizes. She teaches at Skyline College and the Writing Salon and lives in San Francisco.

ISSUE THIRTEEN: Ye, Smelly Tsar | next poem →


Ashanti Anderson

Alan Elyshevitz
   BLDG A, STE 4-22

Deidre O’Connor
   Vision at a Dublin Airport Hotel

Claire Scott
   The Morning After

Daniel Lasell
   Above What's Under

Chey Davis
   The Indictment

Hilary Sideris

John Rodzvilla
   Then Bring It Double (12 & 35)

Kathleen McClung
   After the Election

Matthew W. Schmeer
   Disturbing the Peace

Mark Cunningham