about the author

John McKernan is now a retired comma herder. He lives—mostly—in West Virginia where he edits ABZ Press. His most recent book is selected poems Resurrection of the Dust.

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John McKernan

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It had toenails and didn’t make a splash

Lay there between the oil & the moonlight

I never loved it the way I love music

I thought it might squirm or say something or point

I was wrong

It was as stupid as a newspaper

Then it began moving downstream

Something like an echo with nothing to bounce off

When I threw a quarter it went right through it

It didn’t have ears either

It left them on the river bank like frozen flowers

Why should I say goodbye?   How?

I’d been drinking & felt the need to piss

I’ve never known how to feel or behave at funerals

I’m always happy to have flowers to look at

Feeling might not be important but the words
      used to shelter absence seem valuable
      without a beautiful hieroglyphic script

Never has anyone so silent had so much to say

If you look at the mirror you might think

There I am sleeping    Waiting for the football game

But that corpse had nowhere to go    No rope    No shoes

No cane    No map    The silence in a letter

Folded in the pocket of a pair of blue jeans

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