KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Prose Poem: 117 words


by Kathleen McGookey

The gladioli could never destroy us. We were meant to cut each stalk tenderly with the best possible tool, then stack the jagged blooms in the flat wicker basket in the backseat. We took our picture beside the tallest one—taller than a man—never imagining that decades later someone would place it in a silver frame, that our great-granddaughter would glance at us daily, next to that bristling flower, as she untangled her hair. Our hands tingled. We kept lists of those who gave us sugared apples and red wax candles in return. And each fall, always tenderly, we resurrected the bulbs, brushed away the dirt, then wrapped them securely in burlap, as if blindfolding them.


Kathleen McGookey’s
Issue 12, Summer 2019

fourth book, Instructions for My Imposter, is forthcoming from Press 53. Her chapbook Nineteen Letters is just out from BatCat Press. She is also the author of Heart in a Jar (White Pine Press, 2017), Stay (Press 53, 2015), October Again (Burnside Review Press, 2012), and Whatever Shines (White Pine Press, 2001). In 2011, Parlor Press published We’ll See, a book of her translations of contemporary French poet Georges Godeau’s prose poems.

Poems, prose poems, and translations by McGookey have appeared in more than 50 literary venues, including among others: Boston Review, Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, December, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Glassworks, Indiana Review, Miramar, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Quiddity, Quarterly West, Rhino, Seneca Review, Sweet, The Antioch Review, The Laurel Review, West Branch, Willow Springs; and in these anthologies published by White Pine Press: Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence (2016), The Best of the Prose Poem: An International Journal (2000), The House of Your Dream: An International Collection of Prose Poetry (2008), and The Party Train: A Collection of North American Prose Poetry (1996).

McGookey has received grants from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Arts Fund of Kalamazoo County, the Sustainable Arts Foundation (2014), and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She has taught creative writing at Hope College, Interlochen Arts Academy, and Western Michigan University.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

McGookey’s collection of prose poems Heart in a Jar was reviewed most recently by Amelia Martens in The Bind (7 September 2017), and Laura Donnelly in the Kenyon Review.

Her collection of prose poems Stay is reviewed by Jessie Carty in The Rumpus (April 2016).

Two Poems by Kathleen McGookey, “The Story of My Life” and “October, Illness,” in Diode (Summer 2013)

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