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My Anger

Today I sent My Anger to yoga at 5 a.m. I set out her water bottle and mat, which she dropped, along with the car keys, after she closed the door. When she came home, she slammed the dishwasher and threw bruised apples and stale chips in our lunch bags. Then My Anger posted another complicated chore chart with a row of black check marks after her name.

She has always lived with me. Often when I wake, she’s cleaning the basement. I bring her coffee, milk, and a chocolate bar on my grandmother’s wooden tray. My Anger shows me the boxes where she files her spreadsheets. When we sit together on the cool floor, when I admire the work she’s done, anyone would think we were friends. I wish My Anger would linger on the screen porch and watch the hummingbirds’ throats. She has called me to the window only once, when a hawk flew low across our field gripping a small brown bird, a bird it will eat.


My Anger Sleeps Over

Here she comes in her blue fleece jacket, her overnight bag stuffed with rhinestones and rocks, her teeth and hair brushed. When My Anger wants food she’ll reject what you offer. Already she’s upended her suitcase in your living room, already she’s balanced her stuffed cormorant on your mantle, already snatched up a hammer and scared your tremulous cat. Where does the time go? Her shoelaces are knotted, her face scratched, and the bus she needs to catch is minutes away. Maybe you thought My Anger would never act this way in your home—you’d read her a poem about a swan or guide her to the bench near the peonies you’ve reserved for cloud-watching. Together you would breathe and count to ten.  It’s possible you did nothing to deserve this. It’s possible My Anger might sit, take your hand, and tilt her face toward the sky.


My Anger Takes a Road Trip

Right now My Anger’s stuck on a two-lane highway under construction, slowly driving past heaps of concrete and bent rebar, a pile of burning tires sending up tarry smoke. She likes how the long grass in the median bows down as she goes by. Near the overpass, a bunny the size of her hand crouches in the weeds. My Anger sets it on the concrete, stirs the flames, and reaches for a sandhill crane made of steel, each outstretched feather a razor. She wants to flatten the lindens shading the riverwalk, their delicate perfumed bells opening above her head. She wants to uproot the tin sunflowers that line County Road 81. Next to the highway, cattle lie in dirt stockyards that stretch for miles. My Anger likes to imagine she is one of the last to see those animals alive.  


Kathleen McGookey has published two books of poetry, Stay (Press 53) and Whatever Shines (White Pine Press), two chapbooks, October Again (Burnside Review Press) and Mended (Kattywompus Press), and a book of translations of French poet Georges Godeau’s prose poems, We’ll See (Parlor Press). She has another book, At the Zoo, forthcoming from White Pine Press in 2017. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals including, Agni, Boston Review, Cimarron Review, Crazyhorse Epoch, Field, The Journal, Luna, paragragh, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Prose Poem: An International Journal, The Prose Poem Project, Quarterly West, Seneca Review, and Verse.