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Published: Wed Jul 1 2015
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.
Online 2015 Aging Illness Spirituality

I write about yesterday, bicycles,
Caltrain. From the single seats on the upper deck adjacent
tracks pour off into the distance, a child’s
exercise in perspective. Today’s foggier than yesterday; from
our new windows, newly washed, you can hardly tell
there’s a bay. Wool socks and sweat pants. Considering
New Perspectives on Idleness, considering Writing,
brushing my teeth. Yesterday I heard
Tom’s college roommate slept with
my best friend from high school. Also
about Adam’s wife’s uterus,

flopped back on her chest in the c-sections. Gray ropes
of small intestine, pale flaps of subcutaneous fat. I told them I
saw Cherie’s through the porthole into the Portland hospital
E.R.; Cherie, smiling, holding her little red baby, numb
to the bloodbath south
of the surgical curtain. Kids today; we walk around and see
these kinds of things. Worse, we talk about them.

These days we think we need
a little luck, buy chipped statues of the virgin, an embroidered
portrait of Christ revealing his embroidered heart, on fire.

What is that, a strawberry? asks Alka, for real, now, not
so up on Christian iconography. Christ, sliced
open, red thread incision showing red
thread heart, red flames, blood. Today

cumulative, enormous, everything that happened up
to now stretched out behind us, everything
we think we know. Or just
today, today in lower case, half over, just junk
mail and fog, greased chain, rusty gears. Toothpaste,
parti-colored container ships, bright cumulus
clouds rising up or moving
west across new windows, newly washed.

Five Senses of the End Time
AGNI 52 Aging Spirituality Violence
My Exile Family
Online 2023 Illness Family Work

Jill McDonough is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Here All Night (Alice James Books, 2019). The winner of three Pushcart Prizes, she is a former Stegner Fellow and has received awards from the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Cullman Center. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Slate, The Threepenny Review, AGNI, The Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. She teaches in the MFA program at UMass Boston and and offers the course College Reading and Writing in a Boston jail. (updated 9/2019)

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