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Thursday 13 December 2012

Katherine MacCue


We went to see the museum installation.
Ceiling wired mechanical boxes
with rubber lips sucked up
translucent paper from corner piles,
each piece onto
the floor –

they were so transparent
you could see the pieces that
had come before,
their edges singed and shorn.

You said they were like
sad women,
women in bars with
their fried hair
and a gaze stuck on
a cracked reflection, dizzying
their way to the bottoms
of beer bottles.

I did not believe it
until, walking back
to the metro, I looked
underneath my shoe
and layer

came back to me clear:
pieces of a uniform skin,


A jaw dislocated from the hook
a corkscrew twisted upward,
and inside. I don't know
where to spill
so I spill everywhere.
Trains magnify the distance.
Planes distance the magnifier.

My brain hasn't shut down,
the circadian rhythm has been
displaced, toppled to the murmur
of light and dark exchanging

Either way, I'm someone
shuffling through my purse
for the keys to a motel room.
In every memory,
I'm the interloper,
uninvited but tolerated.

I click my jaw again
I could slice my body in two,
the unhealthy things I've done
under the gun,
the pressure of the Epicranius
under the photographic lens,
surgical knives, waist buckles,
cucumber slices over the eyes.

The meth addicts
clamp-jawed grind behind
the motel is, at times,
a kind of music, their moonfire-lit tempo
against the silver spoon wafts
out of trailers at midnight,
and it's a kind of damage my heart has
grown fond of.

Katherine MacCue is a Puschart-Prize nominated poet who lives in New York with her dog, Blue. She's been published in various journals and can been reached at

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