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Erin L. McCoy


Detached Objects

Butchertown is flooding again,

            stew bones clot into small

                        islands. Between our marrow

           and muscle, a sopping

tongue of moonshine laps and laps,

           and nothing is enough. Whereas,

           when lymph bathes the tissue,

it drains on schedule,

           like any tide. These cells

           you’re collecting do not die

                      when they should.

           See the ivy tear in slow motion

                      through a brick wall.

           Too far and it earns a new name.

           Our city is dying the way rust

coats some metals with a thin film, then

           protects them. Like her stroke wiped away

                      all but the child, imposter cell

disguised in benign skin. Meanwhile, a comet

           burns off its water and oxygen

           in a furious light. No

corrosion, just a whittling-

           down into eventual naught.

                      The radio says

                      there is no free will,

           so it’s not my fault

           that she should be forgiven

and I can’t.

           You were born

                      here, like she was, but look

at your steady hand: meadow with the sun

                      melting down around it. This

           is our city. I cycle back

           as though compelled. One day,

                      carapace cracked

                      in a spring tide, exposed silver

                                 organ reflecting

                      a ghastly

           firmament: no more

waiting for the moon to hurt.

           Let it.


Blue crumbling off the night sky          and you and I look good together, friend,

crawling around blindly          feeling for holes in the dirt       flakes of blue chalk

on our fingers          We invent the dark again and again          They say there was life

before this          scrabbling paws, hooves compacting the worms, the worms

persisting Here          is the trick: you hold the hare by its ears then          distract it

We drew stars by not chalking in those parts          Or the audience hiccups

and the hare transforms into a pigeon          There’s a blue beam burrowing straight

down into the earth beside the interstate          We are smeared to our elbows

each hole empty          and we’ve found no evidence of anything below or above

Still, is it so wrong to believe          we are just a mole away from important This

is our dream: see its small nose squirming between          two degenerative eyes

Hard to call progress but we try          Let’s be very clear Home means to kneel

on the same earth beside each other          means as the night feathers into a fickle end

folding our arms behind our heads, cars churning by          and drawing the same

constellations in the sky by eliminating everything else          survival being

the noblest goal          and flying being antithetical to it, changing the pigeoned hare

once more          into something blind to the stars          but belonging better

to this earth than I ever did, tunneling always          through enchantment

Erin McCoy Author Photo.jpg

Erin L. McCoy, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, holds an MFA in poetry and an MA in Hispanic studies from the University of Washington. Her poem, “Futures,” was selected by Natalie Diaz for inclusion in Best New Poets 2017, and her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Pleiades, DIAGRAM, Cimarron Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and other publications.


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