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                    Since 1996 Volume XXI



                                     
Kathleen McClung


Kathleen McClung, author of The Typists Play Monopoly and Almost the Rowboat, is winner of the Rita Dove, Morton Marr, and Shirley McClure poetry prizes. She serves as sonnet judge and associate director of the Soul-Making Keats literary competition and teaches at Skyline College and The Writing Salon in San Francisco. www.kathleenmcclung.com    

Playhouse                                                                  

                                                                                               

                                                                                               

I.                     Silence                                                                             

 

I have no daughters

 

And my words refuse me

Like sullen girls in bedrooms

 

Too old to play

Not ready to apprentice

 

They prefer brooding,

d.j.’s, Vogue magazine

 

I will place plates of food

Beside the door

Delicious, piping hot

 

I will wait them out

 

II.                  Dream

 

A woman in a dream

Fixes up my old playhouse

 

Clears away cobwebs,

Small chairs, cradles

 

Adult comforts instead

Lamps, books, rugs

 

I know this woman

 

She taught her daughters to weave,

Attend to color, balance, craft

 

She studies systems of caregiving,

Centers of convalescence

 

And travels to my dream

To do home improvements

 

An interior designer                                         (continues)                                                    

 

                                                                                               

 

 

III.               Return

 

I find a new entrance

A gate frozen for years

Behind blackberry bushes

An antique way in

To the playhouse

 

As the evening’s voice deepens

And the light grows mute

 

I pull open a door

I have not touched in twenty years

 

Inside

No bookcase

No doll carriage

 

But birds

Yellow tufted heads

Circles of rouge

On their faces

 

Water bowls filled

A thick spray of seeds

 

And songs

Crisscrossing

Weaving, unraveling in air

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published in Walrus 1995 Literary Review (Mills College)

 

































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