Karyna McGlynn


When he turns down a sip of my green chartreuse
he might as well close the book on me.
This stuff I've been huffing from my snifter
sours, turns to love-thinner. My mentor:

"Look, I can't be your lover."
This is far too easy to parse.
I stuff it down into my Dior:
je comprends, je comprends.

Trapped in this fern bar, swiveling
between a player piano and a Wit who won't
love me back, I finger an amber
ashtray, then drop it, like I might free the fossilized
beetles of my best words. Nothing comes out.
No glissandi of glass, just two dull halves.

There in the mirror, me and my chartreuse
hang from his tenterhooks like macramé owls.
I drag the lacy hem of my embarrassment
around the melting ice sculpture, up and down
his classical syntax—it's almost romantic
to examine the situation at some remove:
his heart on my finger, a dried-out contact.
I shine it on my shirt and put it back in.

"Why did you do that?" he says.
"I'll do anything," I say, can never unsay.

Karyna McGlynn is the author of I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl (winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize from Sarabande Books), Scorpionica (New Michigan Press), Alabama Steve (Sundress Publications), and The 9-Day Queen Gets Lost On Her Way to the Execution (forthcoming from Willow Springs Editions). Her poems have recently appeared in The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Black Warrior Review, AGNI and Witness. Karyna recently received PhD from the University of Houston, where she was the Managing Editor of Gulf Coast. She is currently the Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin and serves as Senior Poetry Editor for Devil's Lake.

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