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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Prose Poems: 155 words;
119 words
By Kathleen McGookey

Two Prose Poems


Cloud Report, 4/19/22

An hour later, though they look almost the same, the morning clouds have shifted and others have taken their places. The new ones are flatter, each with a slate-gray belly and a swirl of white froth near the top. Can you blame me for wanting to rewrite my life now? I am not at lunch with the visiting writer. I have not dropped in on my niece living in France. When I get down on the floor with the dog, he stands and shakes, scattering sand across my face. Clouds fill the eight panes of my window, at once heavy and weightless, and I wonder—what are eight kinds of pain? A second ago, those clouds made a diamond-shaped face whose eyes were bright patches of blue. A second later, the black brushstroke of a crow hovers in front of it, then glides, then drifts outside the frame.



Cloud Report, 5/24/22

This morning, my mirror reflects a fallow field, lush and overgrown, with three tawny fawns stepping delicately through it. A red-winged blackbird alights in the autumn olive, whose pale creamy buds are on the brink of bursting. What a relief not to see my face aging in front of me. Instead, my mirror shows gray sky heavy with clouds but lifting at the horizon. While I watch, the darkest clouds drift up and out of the frame, and then rain falls so thickly I can barely see the field. After it stops, a wren begins the day’s work, calling teakettle, teakettle, teakettle and searching for any hollow object to fill with its nest.

Kathleen McGookey
Issue 14, August 2022

is the author of four books of prose poems and three chapbooks, most recently Instructions for My Imposter (Press 53) and Nineteen Letters (BatCat Press). She is also the author of Heart in a Jar (White Pine Press, 2017), Stay (Press 53, 2015), October Again (Burnside Review Press, 2012), and Whatever Shines (White Pine Press, 2001). In 2011, Parlor Press published We’ll See, a book of her translations of contemporary French poet Georges Godeau’s prose poems.

Her poems, prose poems, and translations have appeared in more than 50 literary venues, including among others: Boston Review, Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, December, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Glassworks, Indiana Review, Miramar, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Quiddity, Quarterly West, Rhino, Seneca Review, Sweet, The Antioch Review, The Laurel Review, West Branch, and Willow Springs—and in these anthologies published by White Pine Press: Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence (2016), The Best of the Prose Poem: An International Journal (2000), The House of Your Dream: An International Collection of Prose Poetry (2008), and The Party Train: A Collection of North American Prose Poetry (1996).

Ms. McGookey has received grants from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Arts Fund of Kalamazoo County, the Sustainable Arts Foundation (2014), and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She has taught creative writing at Hope College, Interlochen Arts Academy, and Western Michigan University.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

“I Couldn’t Look Away”: A Conversation with Kathleen McGookey by David Nilsen in On the Seawall (22 September 2020)

Sandra Arnold Interviews Kathleen McGookey in New Flash Fiction Review (ca. 2018), about her work in the W. W. Norton anthology New Micro (2018)

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