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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Prose Poem: 241 words
By Jessica Purdy

Does it remind you of anything in your own life?


I don’t know what’s on my mind lately with the fever that broke and the sweat soaking the sheets the mind goes to the heart and how it pounds the head and how hot it makes the brain the hips and knees and their aches and how this flu is taking longer to get over now I am older and I think of how I overheard a conversation between a child and her dad at a restaurant. Because the mom wasn’t with them I assumed he had to be going through a divorce and she asked him without guile or fear, When will you die, which made him pause as if maybe offended or defensive and he said, I won’t die for a long time, and the daughter smiled and put her feet up under her on the seat, kept coloring and changed the subject to whales while I looked at my husband across the table and remembered our own kids’ questions I couldn’t answer and how they only made me love them more. Their growing up is not divorce, they’ve always been in my custody. My son texts me, “I need to get a boyfriend—NOW,” and my daughter, “Please send pics of the cats,” and I’m holding their messages in my hands sending heart emojis, love you so muches, and photos of sleeping cats on their empty childhood beds.

Jessica Purdy
Issue 23 (April 2024)

holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her poems and microfiction have appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Gargoyle, Gone Lawn, Litro, MacQueen’s Quinterly, The Night Heron Barks, ONE ART, Radar, and numerous others. Her books Starland (2017) and Sleep in a Strange House (2018) were both released by Nixes Mate Books.

Her recent chapbooks include You’re Never the Same: Ekphrastic Poems (Seven Kitchens Press, 2023); and The Adorable Knife (Grey Book Press, 2023), poems based on dollhouse-scale dioramas by forensic scientist Frances Glessner Lee which were collected in Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death and used to train homicide investigators.

For a longer list of other publications, plus a portfolio excerpted from The Adorable Knife and published by Buttonhook Press in 2022, Murder in the House: The “Nutshells” of Frances Glessner Lee, visit the author’s website:


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