KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Prose Poem: 146 words

Feather Child

by Kathleen McGookey

Daughter, how could we have known? They came without warning, silky, shiny, from swans and ducks, and covered you as you slept in your glass box. Your mouth disappeared. A fringe of down bloomed along your eyelashes and toes. I want to pet your sleek head, still turned away, and trace the pheasant feathers that trail down your back like a braid. And stroke your mottled soles. But any touch will trip the museum’s alarm.

How can I stop watching this sleep?

You’d set out talismans on the windowsill—a pair of meadowlark’s feet, a gray stone sprouting a plush tuft, a bit of driftwood shaped like a fox. All smaller than your thumb. Someone asked, But where did they come from? A sharpened white crayon. A needle, glistening.

Back home, our field of brambles and dead grasses is not quite covered in snow.


Kathleen McGookey’s
Issue 8, August 2017

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

She is the author of several books, including Stay (Press 53, 2015); October Again (Burnside Review Press, 2012); and, from White Pine Press, Heart in a Jar (April 2017) and Whatever Shines (2001). In 2011, Parlor Press published We’ll See, a book of her translations of contemporary French poet Georges Godeau’s prose poems.

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 reviewed by Derek Emerson in the chilling, enduring odor of bear (23 April 2017), and reviewed by Michael Levan in American Micro Reviews (3 April 2017)

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

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

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