Patrick McGee is a graduate student at Northern Kentucky University pursuing a Masters of English. His work has previously appeared in The Licking River Review, The Camel Saloon, and is upcoming in the Roanoke Review. He lives in Florence, KY with his wife, two kids, a dog named Boomer, and the three cats that torment him.
NOT IN THE STARS
On the Golden Gate, the Bay on the left
the window into the limitless expanse
on the right. The iron cables cannot contain
the enormity of it, blue on radiant blue
the gray dissolving into white. The expanse
is the shelf to the unknown earth that contains
all things possible and thoughtless meanderings
of old men and women. The shelf hangs
from the orange peel of sun and cradles it.
The sun passes through the shelf and casts
shadows. People dangle their arms out windows
and run fingers through dappled projections,
through the possible. They grasp onto things--
a grab bag of the unknown— fold them
into their willing chests. We roll down our windows
and grab a handful of our own, knowing destiny
will groan under the weight of the well-intended.
The shadows run cold through my fingers. Destiny
A HALF-FINISHED REALIZATION
We can’t keep our eyes open to marvel
at the vastness of silence as it tears
the clothes from the trees. Its presence is
formidable as the flutter of a moth’s wing
brushing your cheek. The trees open
the windows. The wind blows through
our eyes. The house weeps for all the shouting.
The rains come and crowd out the sun
with the cold that accompanies them.
The light chokes. The moths gather
under the eaves of your breath, eager to feel
the brush for themselves. They stamp out the rest.
Breathe. Beat wings.
Let solitude pour
through the rooms.
It is here.
TODAY, THE SUN DOESN'T SHOUT
Today, I learn how to appreciate
simple things. The vibrant stroke
of a new pen. Snow gathering in the crook
of a maple tree. My breath unhinged
from yours. Rubbing the memory
from my surface like wax polished
into a rough plane. The specimen
with its wings spread out, its textured color
on display for all to see. Pin it to the surface
and muffle its cries with tweezed assurance.
Watch the maple leaf fall to earth.
How peaceful its arc, its sway. How graceful
its intent to fly under the shadow of the sun.
FALL FROM WING
We stand on a rope bridge made from twine.
It is fraying. The wind gusts, brings the memory
of everything our parents couldn’t be.
The bridge sways in time with the wind. A cradle
that carries things that tremble. The wind isn’t warm
or cold. Just wind, endless and plotting. It’s the slap
after a lewd comment. I walk in straight red lines
to the garden rimmed in walnut trees as you walk
in blue jagged lines. The swallows whisper
from the boundary. Their grains of sand fall,
the veil that separates the things that are, from the things
that were, the things that never can be, and the things
that will always be. We stand together
alone on a rope bridge.
It sways in time with us.