top of page
Dawn Macdonald

Two Poems

Dawn Macdonald


I felt pride at

the doctor’s telling

me I’ve a small

waist and a high pain

tolerance. Pride is

venal. I felt


pain and sought to place

this in the subtext

of the narrative.


nutritious. Marrows aren’t

mallows. Marsh

mallards are edible,


theoretically. We go

to lengths to beautify

our bodies for those who’ll

watch them get gross.

Dress for distress.


I felt pride. I felt

damp. Most of the ways

we talk about these

things felt at

best inappropriate. 

The doctor wrote out


names in the illegible 

hand of mastery.

I composed

my face.

Who Says Says Who

dog says ah ah eh

kid says hee hee why why

cat says oh

man says how

bird says see see

and the trees won’t tell,

clover eats its teeth and smiles.

the earth goes down against

confession absolution or betrayal

and stars scoot about

their gimballed, noise-damped


kid says I.

dog says He.

dark slides over the house without

the slightest skip or bump.


echo is only hope.







A man in a dark hat

taught men to count.

They counted on him, and, to do so,

scattered the gobbets of his flesh

across Sky Table.


A bird is not a pet.

A plume is not a pen.

Man has no home.

The sky was full, would take days

to pass, and the echo of the guns

was continuous.


There was meat in those baskets.

Hunger fell dead those days.

Only children could remember

myths told from bare bellies.


Eenie meenie, they said.

They caught tigers to count

tales. The sky squirmed

beyond enumeration.

You could not say

which way was West.

Dawn Macdonald lives in Canada’s Yukon Territory, where she was raised off the grid. Her poetry appears in places like Grain and Literary Review of Canada, and also in places like Asimov’s Science Fiction and Strange Horizons. Her first book, Northerny, is forthcoming from University of Alberta Press in 2024.

bottom of page