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    




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



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


Weaving, unraveling in air







Originally published in Walrus 1995 Literary Review (Mills College)


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