Companion Poems, by Katie McCarthy

buckle and breathe
my knees

I don’t know Pa
I don’t know Pa

buckle and breathe
b u c k l e and breathe
what is that pain
below the hip bone

above the knees

                      in the center

                of what used to please

A cacophony of arms and legs
Extending extending extending
Balanced on the neck is an empty
Transposable space
Conjuring dreams in syncopated rhythm
My fantasies are in scat time

Gin made me want to kiss you
While you were on the couch

Give a drum roll for the messenger

Despite his e flat annunciation
My toes tapped to the rhythm
The rhythm of the scat in my head
Oh, mama, make that jazz stop!
Oh, mama!
The fantasies hurl and burl
Electrify the strings of my corpse.
Make it stop, mama!

Twist until my hips fall off
And my joints ache and my sockets moan with the howl of the wolf
The bluueeeeessss,
the blues.

Katie McCarthy, when not writing, likes to spend her time petting other people’s pets on the streets.

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