Jill Ann Mceldowney
K Names: Kyle
I can’t stay mad at Kyle because we’re both alcoholics or at least
I’m an alcoholic
the color of waking up alone
a page where the toner went out
and his fingers on the neck of a guitar.
He comes through a window in a oil painting and shows me an abandoned house where the
bookcases pull back to rooms full of storms coming in,
moons on the blinds,
dark blue fingerprints on the corners of a keyboard.
Kyle rests his hand on my chest
and it flutters there all summer
eventually running down each rib
black to purple to yellow, staining each blade.
Autumn creeps and in front of a furnace while we lie together I say rosaries on his fingertips.
“How many bodies has that chimney seen?”
His face, the color of the white sky burning the corners of the treetips shielded by the hood of a
kiss tattered sweater can’t see my face,
watering at the boarded up house
the turned out umbrella, the hooked coat hangers
or the face through the glass
looking past both of us to the furnace.
The smoke starts churning again and the bellows of the earth begin their slow distant descent.
K Names: Kayla
Kayla looks so lovely
standing by the grocery store roses.
I can feel the heat coming off of her
the windows of her greenhouse are fogging up.
On Your Bedroom Floor—
Her, dragging his hands through her own hair
and counting the calories in a kiss.
“What you think this is, and what you think this isn’t, are the exact same thing.”
I part the witching hour to the place where rows of new shovels wait.
“He never needed those shovels.”
At the moment, I can’t see anything but the violent red slash of her mouth.
Kayla’s voice pendulum drops
from the center of her in a rattle
that tastes like the coals of a barbecue fire and roses.
Her breath frosts out the words
and I know then if anyone was
to perform an autopsy,
her organs would crumble in their hands.
Below the both of us, a furnace is stirring.
The lights in another house go out and a mother tells her daughter to get her gas mask.
Jill Ann Mceldowney is a poet and model who lives and writes in Chicago.