KATHLEEN RADIGAN


A Rhode Island native, Kathleen Radigan is currently a senior at Wesleyan University
(U.S.A.). Her work has been published by the Academy of American Poets, The Harpoon
Review
, the Adroit Journal, PANK Blog and several others. She is also a singer/songwriter
with a self-titled EP available on Spotify and iTunes.






Carnival

We haven't angered the gods.
Talking stings. Lips, gums.
We sealed a mammal bond,
tongued folds. Your cigarettes
turn cold air sallow, seal us
shut as houses.

Streetlights in your hair, hands
wheel-bound. Tires squelch the street.
I relish your confessions, gifts
of reveal, neck's delicious cracks.

We park by seashore clam-shacks
& boardwalk heat seeps in our bones.
Low tide smells like summer thighs,
bleeds green inside the moon's old pull.
We watch dunes stir and Ferris Wheel
wake. Its magic city spins.

I love the world, though it's ugly.
You're a woman and my friend.
Our love beats on our necks in salt-wind —
a clam cakes' pillow insides,
a fistful of soft hair, a tender fist.






Don't

Go blonde from a bottle. Water the tomato plant
wrong. Break someone's heart with a gesture,
leave the party without saying bye.

Hike a mountain in platform sneakers, chew
old longings until they're stale communion hosts.
Smile at the man who looks far from his barstool.
Eat three sleeves of Pringles, leave shards in the backseat.
Jump off the roof for a flying experiment.

Say he didn't want you because your stomach rolls
when you slouch. Bark at the moon. Command
more bones rise in your hands. Purchase indulgences.
Steal shells from the ocean. Drive to Vermont,
lie flat in sap-sweet backwoods.

Tell your mother everything. Forget to comb out snarls,
brush teeth, drag trash to the curb when the sky's
an evening bruise. Stare when a guy buys one gun,
two Frito bags at Target. Let your dog off the leash to chase
the mail man. Chase men at all. Break a hundred hearts
without thinking, like a gun or a tragic newscast.






Bones

Archeologists play with dry
bones but years eat people
with their stories. At night,
our world extinguishes.

We know what the dead ate
by learning their teeth.
Meat and maize.
We learn from rain,
worms die and duplicate.

In a swimming pool
I float like a cadaver.
Lie flat as shadows redden.
I ache to chew through walls
as day fades like a dead
sister's name.

Once a soul leaves,
it rows on leagues of sky
plunging oars toward
a boneless world
where stars mate and leak light.

The body's left, its shell
a shallow calendar
of breakfasts,
hard and soft bones.






Milk Bone

While we are asleep the dog
dreams of lost relatives.

Fur bullet in a corn-glazed meadow,
fairy pulse, mouth raining hydrangeas.

She sniffs his anus, lifts
him by the scruff like God.

In dreams, his slick nose quivers,
legs move for a fat mouse to sink teeth in.

He knows the world by its edges:
stone wall, swimming pool,
sag in a voice. A gesture's weight.

Chew your milk bone. Hide it safe,
where no one will cleave it
from your mouth.



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