Two Poems by Meredith McDonough

by: Meredith McDonough1

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.

  1. Header art by Parisian artists Papy and Milouz. []
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