By Rachel Mckibbens

Organic Weapon Arts
March 2014




What do we call the place between?
There isn’t a name.
Each bright or un-bright morning, a betrayal.

I’m sorry. It’s all fucked up and you can’t come back.
You are a child trapped in February, bones choked in winter.
Your mother cries out and I wake up
screaming three hundred miles away.

When she explains, all I can say is, I know.
Even though I don’t. When it snowed this morning,
I could only think: sugar.

My unmanaged sorrow needs someone to blame.
That’s the riddle. Maybe today I’ll blame the mayor
of your forgotten town, maybe the miners
                                                    darkly into rock.



What I need you
to understand
is that the body
in its most absolute
agony is smaller
than the body in death.
I'm saying that my niece
was never as tall
as when she was gone.
That I blinked in confusion
at the sight of her 23-month old body
outstretched and cleaned.
I'm saying I did not recognize
her body without pain.
That I never saw her
walk without cancer.
That the bones huddle
like a frightened birds
as the bad blood hunts them down.
I'm saying I will never again
hold her fear against my own,
that she will never know fear again.
I'm saying we will never know, in life,
how big we are.


Rochester, NY

It is the kind of quiet that has been tricked into being.
Bad eggs in the fridge, children singing upstairs.
Mid-winter hollow, we sit, siphoned of language.
Sorry, did you just say something? No.
Are you hungry? I don’t remember.
Would you like a glass of luggage?
We should unpack our milk soon.
We planted you forty-eight hours ago.
Nothing will grow. We are still
wearing our funeral clothes.