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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 6: January 2021
Prose poem: 182 words
By Kathleen McGookey

The Quiet in the House


Everything I don’t know could fill an ocean, starting with the future, its doors of steel and concrete and lead, its gauzy curtains, its stained glass windows coated with ice that sunlight can stream right through. And that scrap of blue sky, behind pillowy clouds like snowbanks, grows a little larger as each minute passes. The quiet in the house is different now, holding the two of us. I’d give anything for a page of algebra problems or an assignment to plot a route to Wisconsin, each construction zone flagged with a man pushing a wheelbarrow of tears. Our wishes and fears multiply like a flock of grackles. I’m trying to calm their noisy chatter, but outside my window one bird keeps calling three times, then falling silent. A minute ago I had been wondering how to replace the burned-out oven light, how to unscrew the protective mesh screen, and how many trips to the hardware store I’d make to find its perfect match. I was dreading that job, but I had some idea how to begin.

Kathleen McGookey
Issue 6, January 2021

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

“Softball-Sized Eyeball Washes Up on Florida Beach”: The Proetic Vision of Kathleen McGookey, Clare MacQueen’s review of Instructions for My Imposter in KYSO Flash (Issue 12, Summer 2019).

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