Winter 2008

Table of Contents - Vol. IV, No. 4


Poetry    Interview    Translations    Fiction    Book Reviews

Kathleen Corcoran


Captive Crabs

Leaving the produce aisle, I wander back
to stare into the bin of captive crabs
covering the slimy bottom, stacked
in squirming masses. One child grabs

with tongs and pulls a leg off carelessly,
which now joins other fragments, motionless
among the scrabbling living amputees.
Other children taunt and jab and press

up close to see these maimed creatures climb
on shells of other crabs to find the light
then fight the tongs in desperate pantomime.
Until one scales the top and stands upright,

a victor, mythical, a transformed sea
god, claws stretched wide in a final silent plea.


Dappled Things

"Glory be to God for dappled things," Gerard Manley Hopkins

Praise be to the woman in the supermarket
checkout line on Sunday morning wearing gold
sandal sling-backs with three-inch heels and a gold
ankle bracelet too and glory be to dappled things
she wore a clingy crepey dress with orange animal
paws and dark brown spots lizard skin purse tucked
underneath her arm and then we saw her leafing
through a tabloid stopping at the ad for exercise
machines to do away with tummy bulge and hefty
thighs machines she didn't need standing there
one hip's perfect curve observed by all except
her paunchy husband with his dog-eye guarding
the cart crammed with cans of cat food Little Debbie
chocolate cupcakes and two bunches of yellow
speckled flowers because it was Mother's Day.

Well then they left and that was that but wait
oh mercy me there in the parking lot a small crowd
gathered praising be the low slung black sports car
convertible too top down the woman with hang-dog
husband at her side holding court of sorts
and when we asked what kind it was she sweetly
answered Honda 2000 not as fancy as it seemed
as she slid neatly into the beige faux fur seat
we saw them drive away and oh glory be
and shades of Isadora too she did she wound
a long silk polka dotted scarf around her wild
Maureen O'Hara auburn hair and we sang praises
as we watched its peacock eyes unfurl shimmering
through the asphalt parking lot and on down
Route 140 past the brand new WalMart store.


TV Comes to Logan, West Virginia

The freight elevator clanked and clattered
and my father told me we'd ascend
on through the warehouse roof
and into sky then sail across the hills,
but stopped instead at 5th floor furniture
with modern dinettes for fifties families,
rows of plastic covered chairs,
and the first shipment of Motorola TV sets.

When he'd come home from selling furniture
to company stores up Buffalo Creek,
he'd pull Tootsie Rolls from air
with his magic words:
"Holla Molla Hot Die Spinna Majig."

Now my magician turned a knob
producing voices, laughter,
a black and white confetti of swirling dots--
the shadow of a face.

He conjured a new world,
our own Show of Shows that plunged
from sky and zoomed across mountains,
a flash descending, lighting our dark hollow.


© Kathleen Corcoran



Poetry    Interview    Translations    Fiction    Book Reviews

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