Poems from Home By Now

Featured: Carnal - Home by Now - George Says Stop Writing About Yourself - Elegy for the Unknown Father

Meg's Poetry Featured on AGNI Online

AGNI Online

AGNI Online recently published two of Meg's poems, and featured a conversation she had with Alison Lanier.

» Read the interview here.

» Visit AGNI Online to read Meg's poems
(Call Me Dr. Frankenstein, Ode to the Parrot, Partridge: Paradise Lost)

Read two new poems by Meg, featured in in 2013



Home By Now, by Meg KearneyI suppose squirrels have their hungers, too,
like the one I saw today with the ass end of a mouse
jutting from its mouth. I was in the park;
I’d followed the stare of a dog, marveled
as the dog seemed to marvel that the squirrel
didn’t gag on the head, gulped so far down
that squirrel’s throat nearly all that was visible
was the grey mouse rump, its tail a string
too short to be saved. The dog and I couldn’t
stop gawking. The squirrel looked stunned himself —
the way my ex, The Big Game Hunter, looked
when I told him I was now a vegetarian.
We’d run into each other at a street fair
in Poughkeepsie. The hotdog he was eating
froze in his hand, pointed like a stubby finger,
accused me of everything I’d thought
I’d wanted, and what I’d killed to get it.

Home by Now

New Hampshire air curls my hair like a child’s
hand curls around a finger. “Children?” No,
we tell the realtor, but maybe a dog or two.
They’ll bark at the mail car (Margaret’s
Chevy Supreme) and chase the occasional
moose here in this place where doors are left
unlocked and it’s Code Green from sun-up,
meaning go ahead and feel relieved —
the terrorists are back where you left them
on East 20th Street and Avenue C. In New York
we stocked our emergency packs with whistles
and duct tape. In New England, precautions take
a milder hue: don’t say “pig” on a lobster boat
or paint the hull blue. Your friends in the city
say they’ll miss but don’t blame you — they
still cringe each time a plane’s overhead,
one ear cocked for the other shoe.

George Says Stop Writing About Yourself (New York, December 2001)

This one’s for George, who urged take off those
shit-kicker boots, leave your husband wrapped
in the scroll of last night’s sheets, forget your mother
sipping a cigarette, a Dugan’s Dew — forget
your other mother, your other father, too,

and the one you last saw in a coffin not looking
at all like himself, so much not-him you couldn’t
bear be near that body. Forget your first kiss —
how it sounded like peanut butter, tasted like
a train. Stop talking about the Alabama Slammers

and four Blue Whales or those men you drove crazy
with your push-him, pull-him love. And don’t speak
of babies, about not having them or the ugly one
who’s so much a part of your nights she must be
real, her mongrel face breaking into sadness.

Don’t talk about holding her above your head,
calling her Sweet Girl, Mama’s Girl — how she almost
smiles. Just for George, this poem looks beyond
Sea Monkeys and that first Louisville Slugger.
It opens the window to the stench, three months

now of that smell, man-made, human, wafting
from downtown. This poem is in the street,
where war does its thing. See, there’s a man
walking up Broadway: his shoes, suit, eyelashes,
lips covered with dust that used to be a building.

Elegy for the Unknown Father

Maybe there’s a reason I was left
without a map to find you, why

the trail to your door has long gone
arctic. I’ve sat here nearly an hour

on the bench that marks the grave
of the man who raised me. I know

the way to this place, the back roads
south of the highway, the pothole

just before the iron gate. I know
its sparrows and withering lilies as well

as I knew the face of this father
walking in the door with an armful

of firewood or a fist of flowers. See
the groundskeeper give me a wave?

He knows me by name.
I have never needed you less.