Three Poems – Kathleen Radigan

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Mourners

Susannah says, When
a sheep decides it’s time
to die, it’s time.

The flock swats flies.
Prays for elegant ascent.
You’ll dot the sky.
Insomniacs will count you.

If death’s a water bed between worlds,
wade to the other trough.
Rise over fence-blades seared with sun.
Bray in a field of animal light.
Wind-hoofed, weightless.

When Earth goes belly up,
does soul cleave from body and balloon
over the roof where roses climb walls?

Susannah thwacks and you cough
a fighting current. Spit up lung muck,
black eyes fluttering.

Face shrunk, hoofs flayed like milk,
you bleat songs, back from beyond
and trembling.

 
 

A Small World

1
Tombs are magic grass-spheres.
We yawn out ancient dust.

Our guide points.
A pile of Megalithic teeth.

Experts removed
the dead
, she says.

Maybe someday they’ll come back!

I see them
when I squint, hunched hunting
stone tools.

Down the hill,
an ancient suburb —
gravel-stacked stoves.
Silent a millennium.

Land doesn’t care
for howling marrow.
It cannot hold a feeling.

We clutch cameras,
squeeze our eyes shut.

2

When I die I want my ashes
scattered in the Small World ride.

Disney’ll drain
its water. One small world will mourn.

3
I download Google Earth to tour the planet.
Last time I’ll see Grandma’s ranch
in Jersey. Ocean’s gray glass.
Scroll into darkness –
see how easy there could there be no people.

 
 

Don’t

Go blonde from a bottle. Water the tomato plant
wrong. Break someone’s heart with a gesture,
leave the party without saying bye.

Hike a mountain in platform sneakers, chew
old longings until they’re stale communion hosts.
Smile at the man who looks far from his barstool.
Eat three sleeves of Pringles, leave shards in the backseat.
Jump off the roof for a flying experiment.

Say he didn’t want you because your stomach rolls
when you slouch. Bark at the moon. Command
more bones rise in your hands. Purchase indulgences.
Steal shells from the ocean. Drive to Vermont,
lie flat in sap-sweet backwoods.

Tell your mother everything. Forget to comb out snarls,
brush teeth, drag trash to the curb when the sky’s
an evening bruise. Stare when a guy buys one gun,
two Frito bags at Target. Let your dog off the leash to chase
the mail man. Chase men at all. Break a hundred hearts
without thinking, like a gun or a tragic newscast.

 

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About Kathleen Radigan

A Rhode Island native, Kathleen Radigan is currently a senior at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Her work can be seen in "PANK Blog," "The Harpoon Review," "Public Pool," "The Adroit Journal," "Softblow," and several others. She is also a singer/songwriter with an EP of original songs available on iTunes. View all posts by Kathleen Radigan

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