6.03 / March 2011

Two Poems


We made love, algebraic and steady.
Soon, you left for work. I spent the day
like foreign currency, ambling. I was an
angler fish. You were bioluminescent,
right past the bridge of my nose all day.
I followed, and also did not follow.
I bumped into things all day. I went to
the library, where none of the books would
tell me about Pushkin, where the librarian
cut coupons and set a timer on my use
of the table. The logs in the fireplace
had never been lit. I went upstairs to
find the rest of the books, and found,
instead, offices. Everything was under
water, my apologies to the librarian
for the pile of books, the smell of my
leftover sandwich. I could not work
around you. When I left the library,
there was police tape to my left, and
I drove the wrong way down the street,
women with strollers milling on the
sidewalk, waiting for something to emerge
from the house between the library and
St Mary’s Church. Everything was
under water, the skateboarders, the
rubbernecking women who had heard
this was a methamphetamine bust
in this sleepy northern city, this city
where the sidewalks are planted with
low flowers in geometric patterns, each
one a separate lure, the soil dry between
them, this city named after the town in
England, it turns out, where the Magna
Carta was born, the rights of the common
man, this city so asleep on the beach
it does not know how far underwater
I can breathe, or what I see, the way lit
as it is by a cold light. I am as alone
as I can be, just now, with the city
pressing in, the disapproving woman
who almost hits me as I drive away
shaking her head, but I am increasingly
alphanumeric, making more and more
sense the closer I am to home.


After taking a series of self-portraits
with a 1930’s incinerator, which was
covered with lichen and spiders and rust,
a series of close-ups of the coin operated
view-finder, which said step up and turn
to clear vision, I took a series of portraits
of myself with the bronze 1930’s CCC Worker,
who was looking off into the middle distance,
wherever that is, and looking a little
long suffering. I sidled up, and in much
the same manner that I take all my shots
of myself-trying to catch myself
unawares, mid-expression-I tried to
catch myself and the statue in a moment
of intimacy. I snaked my arm around
his neck, my hand casual against his
collarbone, and looked off. We looked
together into the middle distance, into the
air bowl of sky that is the canyon’s yawn.
Then, I leaned toward him, so that my head
rested on his shoulder. Then, I nuzzled in,
for real, there, on the constructed walkway,
mid-trail, at the edge of the canyon, even my dog
looking askance at us. I stood there until
the people stopped staring, until the weather
burnished my skin that same sun-brown, until
my dog walked away with the young girl
who had asked so nicely, so much earlier,
to pet him, until all I could think was how
I wanted to look into his eyes forever, despite
his pupils being awkwardly cast, like two
small finger prints, as if someone once tried
to reach inside them, how I wanted to brush
his cheek with the backs of my fingers
in the dark, where no one can see me cry
and some twist of metal in my chest
is tightening and I can feel it shiver,
how I would never be able to, turned to
bronze like this, stuck out in the various
weather, him caught mid-kiss with the top
of my head, stuck there like that, how I
would stand like this forever, caught in the act
of desire, frozen before reaching or speaking,
how I got, in the end, what I had always been after.

Kerrin McCadden’s poems have appeared or will appear soon in American Poetry Review, Hunger Mountain, RATTLE, Poet Lore, The Fiddlehead, Painted Bride Quarterly and New Delta Review. She was a finalist for the 2010 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize and a semi-finalist for the "Discovery"/Boston Review 2010 Poetry Contest, the 2010 Ralph Nading Hill Award (Vermont Life Magazine) and the 2009 RATTLE Poetry Prize.
6.03 / March 2011