Two Prose Poems

The Skunk

Sometime in the night, that skunk you wanted to trap dug up the bees’ nest and scattered papery combs around a hole the size of a large O--oh, not you again.  It ate every bee, like delicate pale radish slices sprinkled with salt.  The crisp tang.  The unexpected struggle and crunch.  Outside the doorway of our sleep.  Outside the strip of orange light shimmering on our silence, that silence like a thread pulled from a bobbin, then wrapped around and around the house.

 

House Made of Words

A light shone in the window of the little house made of words.  In the bedroom, someone changed sheets.  In the kitchen, someone flipped crepes.  In the basement, mortar crumbled between fieldstones. No one had fallen down the stairs or smashed the back door window and reached in to turn the knob.  No one had carried a choking infant into the yard, calling out for help.  And help would come.  But today, someone dangled a knife over the heating vent and down it slid with a metallic gasp, clicking and shuddering.  Someone leaned an elbow on the windowsill while a bonfire leaped in the yard, tall as that second story window, and scraps of ash rose on currents of air.  Someone blew a kiss to the question marks. The house did not tremble in the night. Besides, it was only dusk, the kind of dusk filled with falling leaves and falling stars, dusk with its life still stretched out before it, a wide ribbon of honey tipped from the jar.

 

Volume 12.1 - June 2019

Kathleen McGookey’s book Instructions for My Imposter is forthcoming from Press 53, and her chapbook Nineteen Letters is forthcoming from BatCat Press. Her work has appeared in Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, December, Field, Glassworks, Miramar, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Quiddity, and Sweet