Come here    My little one    Listen for
Once    I had almost forgotten about you

Now I remember    The broken rib
Your tight hold on that wisdom tooth
The sound your kneecap made on rock

I remember some of your jazzy photos
The green one at the Thom McAn shoe store
The tiny white tree in the dentist’s tweezers
The MRI which looked like a peeled orange

Lie down    No    Right here    Next to me
Hear the lullaby of that train whistle
Downgrade?    I wouldn’t think of hanging you
From that maple tree outside this window
Of pulling you apart    Calcium molecule

By molecule    Into    a pile of white powder

Listen:

mckernan100.jpgJohn McKernan is now a retired comma herder. He lives—mostly—in West Virginia, where he edits ABZ Press. His most recent book is a collection of selected poems, Resurrection of the Dust. He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other magazines.

Homepage photograph via Wellcome Images by Spike Walker

At Guernica, we’ve spent the last 13 years producing uncompromising journalism. 

More than 80% of our finances come from readers like you. And we’re constantly working to produce a magazine that deserves you—a magazine that is a platform for ideas fostering justice, equality, and civic action.

If you value Guernica’s role in this era of obfuscation, please donate.

Help us stay in the fight by giving here.