Logo, MacQueen's Quinterly
Listed at Duotrope
MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 15: Sept. 2022
Poem: 235 words
By Rick Mulkey

Susan’s Creek

We walked beside it a half mile 
before finding a spot we thought was ours. 
Laurel canopy opening up and sunlight 
flashing off mica in the stream. 
The current spiraled beneath scrub pines 
and past a rusted railway trellis. 

She spoke of the deep colors of trillium 
and how the Cherokee claimed 
when trout lily bloomed it was time to fish; 
though, she’d always liked the story 
of how they sprang to life from Eve’s tears. 

Noticing I had turned to flies 
and knots, she walked upstream and left me 
with the current pulling toward faster waters, 
deeper pools. Then I cast toward shadows. 

An hour later, with fern leaves in her hair, 
a fistful of daffodils and a patch of deer fur 
she’d lifted from a lightning-charred stump, 
she returned and we started back, 
walking the path while she told stories. 

That night in our cabin, we ate bacon and 
four small trout, then washed it down with Jameson’s. 
The fire in the stove cracked and hissed, 
while we curled our legs together 
and drifted to sleep. 

I’d like to have 30 more years of days like that, 
to listen to her talk of birds and flowers, 
to watch her sip her morning coffee, 
but if I don’t and life, before I want it to, 
comes to an end, this is as good 
a memory as any to hold on to. 

Rick Mulkey
Issue 15, September 2022

is the author of six collections, including All These Hungers; Ravenous: New & Selected Poems; Toward Any Darkness; Before the Age of Reason; and Bluefield Breakdown. Individual poems and essays have appeared widely, including in Poetry East, Georgia Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Shenandoah, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Poetry Daily, and the anthologies American Poetry: the Next Generation; The Southern Poetry Anthology: Volumes I and II; and A Millennial Sampler of South Carolina Poetry, among others. His awards include the Hawthornden Fellowship, the Charles Angoff Award from The Literary Review, and the Gearhart Poetry Prize from Southeast Review. Mulkey is director and co-founder of the Converse Low Residency MFA [Converse University, South Carolina].

Copyright © 2019-2024 by MacQueen’s Quinterly and by those whose works appear here.
Logo and website designed and built by Clare MacQueen; copyrighted © 2019-2024.
⚡   Please report broken links to: MacQuinterly [at] gmail [dot] com   ⚡

At MacQ, we take your privacy seriously. We do not collect, sell, rent, or exchange your name and email address, or any other information about you, to third parties for marketing purposes. When you contact us, we will use your name and email address only in order to respond to your questions, comments, etc.