Poems by Mary McCall

Sudden Shift

You wake up one morning and sense it—
the changing season.  The decision
to discard boots, opt for sandals
instead. Your feet bare,
exposed, your  toes shying
away from the sunlight.

But soon newness fades,
as if your skin has always known
the brush of a breeze, your soles
the heat rising from asphalt.

Or in the autumn, once again
slipping back into socks,
then shoes. Your feet chafe
at first from confinement
then slowly settle
into snugness.

Two weeks ago he told me
he loved me; but now, in the end,
we are back to the how-are-yous,
talking about the weather—and now
I must wake up and root through
my closet for boots
I stowed away last spring.

 

Glove Compartment Journals

The night before he left for college
he slipped into my room, tacking
a Pearl Jam poster to the wall

He played their tape in his red Jeep,
matching hair peeping under
a West Virginia Wesleyan cap
facing backwards

I rode with him up front
no roof, no doors
just open sky and sunlight
dancing on my arms

a tornado of brown hair
until he gave me a cap
I wore it facing backwards,
frowning brim

it whipped off my head
skipping down the road
he laughed and said
it was his friend’s

when it rained,
we wore garbage bags

when it grew dark,
headlights sailing along
back roads like comets
stretching our arms and singing
to the sky, I’m still alive

he dreamed of grandparents
he never met and wrote poems
sitting on bridges while the bay
lapped verses for him

cupping the brim
of his hat in thought

and stowing journals
in the glove compartment
beside his insurance card

he gave me my first journal
with a sunflower on the cover
he told me to write every day
even if it was about boys

 

Mirage

Two lovers lounge beneath the dappled shade,
caressed by phantom leaves as heat enfolds
them within summer’s quilt. The fresh-cut blades
of grass crisp under toes of four-year olds
whose ice cream pools within the valleys
between their fingers. Lemon glaze coats warm
cakes on the counter as dogs cool their bellies
on stone steps. Here, your scent is gone. Your worn
shirt only smells like fabric softener,
or, it even could be mine. I’ve lost track
of details after you were lost in her
blue, eyelet sheets and our bed lost your back
against mine, a warmth I felt until dawn—
except when I woke up, and it was gone.

Mary McCall is pursuing her MA  in composition/rhetoric at Purdue University where she also teaches first-year composition. Her work has been nominated twice for Best of the Net and appeared in Decompression, Chantarelle’s Notebook, The Storyteller, Thick with Conviction, and elsewhere.

One thought on “Poems by Mary McCall

  1. If this publication is to survive and prosper in the years to come, more poetry by Mary McCall must continue to be spotlighted..a bucket of freezing water in the face experience reading her words dance across the page holding my attention and imagination captive while desperately wanting more..Awesome

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