Two Poems by Meredith McDonough

by: Meredith McDonough ((Header art by Parisian artists Papy and Milouz.))

These two poems by Meredith McDonough explore the ways in which divisive government actions can often collapse the distance between the separate self and the state: “I blur my lines…that’s how…I am the president and the jailbird.”

[As we look at this Wall, we do not want walls of any kind between peoples.]

Thousands scritched
the snow away
last night
with the laborious
un-calligraphy of brooms

so that I could I ride
like a witch
to the Wall
on the seamless tread
of car wheels

The cameras translators
statesman observers and I
climb the stairs
overwarm in our coats

At last pinioned
on the border
of what is
and what is not

I make a pinky promise
with the Wall
I solemnly swear
to revere the bones
sewn into your skirts
if you will let me unmake you
with a metaphor

The Wall repeats me
but backwards
the way a mirror would
see me
It is dismantling

We can’t tell if we are right
or left out
or if the unbroken howl
rises or sets
in our throats


[I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a Federal Agent.]

I read new lines in my palms
a deep crease of psychedelic imaging
offshoot stubs for brainwashing
universal language
and the ability to see

an atom and its shadow self
vibrating in a nearby alternate dimension
Just as I am both my patriot self
pacing a hotel room
and my Soviet self
whispering into the pores
of a telephone

I blur my lines
that’s how I am the narc
and the perp
how I am the president
and the jailbird

There is no glass case
like the White House
I microphone the men with cufflinks
the ladies with brooches
and record their sound waves
falling in guilt
peaking in redemptive twang

Meanwhile I keep track
of their shadow selves
lurking in the offbeat

There is no white powder
at our nation’s nose
even if there is
No lies

in our twin veins
when I present the past
as the future
like a commemorative WWII Colt 45
shooting us in the third eye


Meredith McDonough’s poems have appeared in Arcana: The Tarot Poetry Anthology, Linebreak, RHINO, Juked, Bone Bouquet and elsewhere. She was also a finalist for the Jane Lumley Emerging Artist Award in 2016.

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