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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 7: March 2021
Poem: 165 words
By Katharyn Howd Machan

Odd Numbers


Pan. Peacocks. Purity. 
I applaud them, grateful, laughing. 
Mornings I drink Constant Comment 
tea with oranges half-crazy Suzanne 
served to Leonard Cohen. Happy: 
when I was a girl I walked alone 
to a round pond glimmered with frozen rain 
and it was perfect, untouched, waiting 
for my circling silver skates. I still 

visit Connecticut, remembering 
marbles and berries and sky, the green 
tinge that ushered the hurricane 
where I lived next to black and white cows. 
I learned to dance and I still dance. 
Sequins. Red boots. Prayers. Poems. 
The edge of the moon in cloud-wide air. 
I will wear heavy bells and run 
in goatskins up the village hill 

on Skyros just as winter ends 
around Athena’s temple. I thank 
belly and legs and bright wild hair 
and the way my soft arms fit around 
my bearded lover’s body. Travel 
with him to islands and islands 
and bottles of Mythos, unicorns 
smiling on beer’s bold green labels 
that whisper away time’s will. 


Katharyn Howd Machan,
Issue 7, March 2021

author of 39 collections of poetry (most recently, in 2020, A Slow Bottle of Wine, winner of the Jessie Bryce Niles Chapbook Competition), has lived in Ithaca, New York, since 1975 and, now as a full professor, has taught Writing at Ithaca College since 1977. After many years of coordinating the Ithaca Community Poets and directing the national Feminist Women’s Writing Workshops, Inc., she was selected to be Tompkins County’s first poet laureate. Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies, textbooks, and stage productions, and she has edited three thematic anthologies, most recently, with Split Oak Press, a tribute collection celebrating the inspiration of Adrienne Rich. In 2018, FutureCycle Press published her Selected Poems and selected it as their Best Book of the Year.

See also: https://faculty.ithaca.edu/machan/

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