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Two poems by Meg Kelleher


In the ten-karat buff bray of English sun in late May, unquiet

Americans crack croquet behind the Georgian where we lodge,

the two of us upstairs in my bed where we’ve spent four months

splayed in an agar of chippie oil and cum, a post-Raphaelite

enfleurage. It’s all my fault. Endeared to his crude panegyrics

to my grace and ass in jeans, I’ve let this rush tow me

too far. My class weekend at Bath runs long, he waits in hysterics

with an engagement ring: in gold, a garotte and an engorged

heart. Forster’s a bore and college makes me a toff, he’s immune

to the perfume of hay and beeswax in the Royal Mews. Our Domesday

accounting, somewhere, is off. Hotspurs in extra time—what else

here is overdue? Hey nonny nonny, stay and say you’ll be his

alewife in a life ickle and mean. The fish in the fryer whisper, hiss:

Ophelia snuffed herself first with morphine.


Venice, Florida, 1990

The host

is a white eye.

Belief means you don’t need

to see. But once

I watched the chalice

and the water went

pinkish. As if on cue.

There’s a sign

for me to hold. Mom

promises a Happy Meal

after we go. I don’t need

to tell her I want the prize.

I don’t want to be seen.

She says that’s just being

a preteen. Hooks

my elbow in hers.

Takes me where believers

line the street.

Cars beep. Women

scream. Agree

or disagree. Takes

a moment

to know. I don’t

want to see.

But once I pried

open an oyster

with my nail.

Something tiny and alive

broke there.

I don’t need eyes to see

Dad, Sunday mornings,

alone in his old robe.

Egg, toast.

He’s starting the cross-

word he’ll leave

for Mom to complete.

This we know.

Meg Kelleher is an English Literature Ph.D. dropout and a licensed clinical social worker writing in Chicago. This is her first publication.

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