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The Story of My Life

The story doesn’t care if you read it.  It’s still the same story.

The story never gets tired.

The story leaves everything unfinished.

The story cuddles up, lays its head on my shoulder.

The story shrinks around my house.  It contains four people, usually three, sometimes five.  It tightens its grip slowly, gradually, like a python.

The story doesn’t know what I’m talking about.  The story says, “Me?”

The story sees shiny empty wrappers and demands a piece of candy, but I’ve just eaten the last one.

The story leaves out the first twenty, maybe thirty, chapters.

The story says it is not jealous when other stories get told more.

The story doesn’t mind seeing dead deer by the side of the road.  Just not the bloody ones.

The story dreams of going to New York.

The story tells itself it can change anytime it wants.

Once you begin to feel you follow it, the story puts you off track.

Frequently the story says, “No!”  When this happens, there’s nothing anyone can do.

The story does not care if you’re not the person you appear to be.

This question keeps the story awake at night:  What if there is no story?

The story wants a pet.

The story wants a glass of water.

The story wants a sucker.  A love letter.  A peanut butter sandwich.

The story is sick of itself.

The story is pretty sure you are not going to mention it to anyone.

At the same time, the story expects to live quite a while because it has taken good care of its health.

The story likes to stand on the bathroom counter and talk to itself in the mirror.  It can be adorable when it looks over its shoulder at me.

I am trying to teach the story not to suck its thumb.

The story hopes it did not put its foot in its mouth at the poetry reading last night.  Or talk too fast.

At this point, the story worries you might not believe what it first said, the part about not caring if you read it.

The story doesn’t mind starting over.


October, Illness,

a photograph of hands clasping.  Two people lean against each other.  Sorrow stuns itself against the window.  Cat banished, then sought.  Forget the weather.  Forget the rotting vines, the garden’s wet-leaf muck. Is that the steady breath of a sleeper?  Is that a clock’s bald wet face in the mirror?  


Kathleen McGookey’s work has appeared in Boston Review, Cimarron Review, Epoch, Field, The Journal, Luna, The Prose Poem:  An International Journal, Quarterly West, Seneca Review, Verse, and numerous other journals. She is author of Whatever Shines (White Pine Press), a chapbook, October Again (Burnside Review Press), and a book of translations of French poet Georges Godeau’s prose poems, We’ll See (Parlor Press). Her chapbook Mended is forthcoming from Kattywompus Press.