Kate Delany


She only sleeps fitfully
on nights I have to ninja in
to collect a shovel shaped
kernel of ivory, still ringed
at its base with dried blood,
and leave a dollar behind.

Tossing and turning in her
Minnie Mouse sheets, she
probably dreams of a pixie
with a hourglass figure, delicate
painted wings, not me, in sweats,
scent of a hard earned beer
on my breath, bedhead without
even having been to bed yet.

Serious six year old question:
What does the tooth fairy want
with my teeth anyway?
: Picture books
suggest sweet answers—milk teeth
tossed to the heavens, transfigured
into stars, teeth magically gifted
to newborns who haven't cut theirs yet—

truth is, I keep the teeth in my jewelry
box, pirate that I am, rubbing each
treasure with a little shudder. It's
a relief really, after all the cut hair
I wanted to scoop off salon floors,
tiny crescent moons of clipped nails
sprinkled into my pockets, only
to have them dissolve in the laundry.

Mother as Bluebeard—I'd covet
every bitty scrap of her if I could,
every eyelash, every jet thread of hair.
When she sails on, exuberant and golden,
to the port of calls of her life, I'll still be
here, craggy as my hideaway, consoling
myself with this infinitesimal plunder.

Kate Delany has previous publications which include a chapbook, Reading Darwin, published by Poets Corner Press. Her full length collection, Ditching, is forthcoming from Aldrich Press. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in such journals as Art Times, Barrelhouse, Jabberwock Review, Room and Poetry Quarterly. She teaches in the English Departments of Rutgers and Rowan Universities.

Current | Archives    Submit | Masthead    Links | Donate   Contact | Sundress