Potato Peeling by Sarah Mackey Kirby

Potato Peeling

Let it be known for historical accuracy
but you can never tell my husband,
that when I’m hand-slimed
from potato peeling
on a Wednesday evening,
water boiling on the stove
and he sneaks up behind me,
grabs my waist,
and twirls me in my dog socks,
and I act annoyed because
I’m trying to time things perfectly,
that I am, in fact, not annoyed.

And when he thinks I don’t hear him
creeping toward me because I have
headphones on, I do hear him.
I pretend I don’t. Because the
drives-me-nuts shock
as he snatches me up and laughs
is his favorite part of it.
So if he knew I know
when he is about to do that,
and since my pretending I don’t
is one thing I love most,
then his knowing I know
would ruin those moments
for both of us.

*

Sarah Mackey Kirby grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. She is the author of the poetry collection, The Taste of Your Music (Impspired, 2021). Her poems appear in Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, The New Verse News, ONE ART, Ploughshares, Third Wednesday Magazine, and elsewhere. She taught high school and middle school social studies until a few health surprises changed her path. Sarah is an always-teacher-at-heart and a forever second momma to hundreds of students. She and her husband divide their time between Kentucky and Ohio. https://smkirby.com/

Death of a Child Who Never Was by Sarah Mackey Kirby

Death of a Child Who Never Was

I need to bury you, this mind-figment
that can never become.
Into a place where you lose meaning.
Some former dream, diminished.
A white dwarf star succumbed to light pressure,
helium-swallowed core, collapsed but somehow
still shining inside my narrative,
each evening’s reemergence unwelcome.
I want you, who never was,
to stay distant and vague.
Unrecognizable, obscure music.
Disconnected as chartreuse, the color and name.
Some untenable heel-dug position
decomposing at last under the weight of proof.
Leave me. Fall cooling into the wilderness,
canopied under treetops. Capitulate to this gravity,
and descend into the thickened woods at dusk,
where I can no longer author your voice.

*

Sarah Mackey Kirby grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. She is the author of the poetry collection, The Taste of Your Music (Impspired, 2021). Her poems appear in Muddy River Poetry Review, The New Verse News, ONE ART, Ploughshares, Third Wednesday Magazine, and elsewhere. She taught high school and middle school social studies until a few health surprises changed her path. Sarah is an always-teacher-at-heart and a forever second momma to hundreds of students. She and her husband split their time between Kentucky and Ohio. https://smkirby.com/

The Truth about Loving Me by Sarah Mackey Kirby

The Truth about Loving Me

I thought I knew, but I didn’t,
not until the vomit came.
Whether he had what it took
to love me. To really love me.
If he could stomach a skull dressed with
staples, railroad-tracked from lobe to lobe,
dark curls gross from lack of shampoo.
While I searched for some indication
I was still here. Still human.

Whether he’d sit with me for a month,
as a tongue once used for kissing him
felt so heavy my speech dribbled thick
incomprehensible molasses. And legs
once used to dance ballet and hip-hop
turned to noodles on a sparkly mopped floor.
When my fingers couldn’t grip a pen.

When he drove me to Minnesota,
polar vortex snow punching January white,
in time for a Mayo Clinic Monday
that turned into much longer.
Where icicles dangled gorgeousness
by Mississippi River cliffs
like cave-artist-carved stalactites
to make us both forget for
a moment why we were there.
That we were there.

How I found out the truth….
Not with hot sand toes
on palmetto tree vacations.
Or stargazer lily bouquets.
Or laugh-laden birthdays.
Or pictures posing in summer light.
But in a bed that caught my teardrops
with me pissed at the world.
Some nights, even at him.
Blood and brain goo
draining into an oval container
as he covered an exposed
part of my foot with a blanket.

*

Sarah Mackey Kirby is a Kentucky poet and writer. She is the author of the poetry collection, The Taste of Your Music (Impspired, 2021). Her poems appear in Ploughshares, Chiron Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, Punk Noir, The New Verse News, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She holds an MA in teaching and a BA in political science from the University of Louisville. She and her husband live in Louisville. https://smkirby.com/