2 poems
Kathleen McGookey

At the Construction Site

I fall from the roof of the new house. My mother, small below me, opens her red mouth. I catch the startled balloons her words make. Now, hawks and starlings circle me, giant fledgling gone wrong. Their sharp claws and beaks are not terrible: they could bring me mother’s voice once again.

At the School Costume Parade

Sadness fills me and I can’t give it back. A sleek bee sting and gauzy kisses won’t help. Octopus, vampire, cowgirl, bat. Smear flour on a bruised cheek, toothmarked, and now you’re a zombie. Now Death dangles a plane in the sky. A ladybug trips over a desk and wails. Swollen tentacles sweep cupcakes to the floor. I feel like crying. I’d take the dark forest over the crowd in here, where the werewolf needs his sticky scruff adjusted. And what’s more, the bride doesn’t intend to marry him. I want to bend down and whisper, My darlings, smiling exhausts me.