… could escape.

By J. K. McDowell

April 2014


A friend said my poem was haunted. I believed

In ghosts, so it seemed a possibility.

The poem corrected, “She said, “haunting,” not “haunted.””


Hoping the buds survive the unexpected chill,

I imagine your pink cherry tree in bloom.

Later, sour unripe cherries crushed in ice coffee.


The Cailleach tells me that my love of olives for

Breakfast is related to my night in the Garden

Of Gethsemane. What did you dream for breakfast?


We confuse the meanings, mistaking silence for

Rejection.   We worry, regretting the sacrifice

And yet our gifts are real, accepted and cherished.


There are too many dreams screaming in my head.

Behind my eyes the knives are drawn.   A haloed moon

Drips red. I have to focus or be sliced to shreds.


So James, you have glimpsed the unspeakable abyss.

The white threads of anger were felted so thick,

So densely, none of your enlightenment could escape.