A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Sharon Fagan McDermott

is a Visiting Lecturer of writing at the University of Pittsburgh, who also sings in the band, Crossing Flynn.

She was the recipient of a PA Council on the Arts grant in 2002.

Her chapbook, Alley Scatting, was published in 2005 by Parallel Press (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

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Against Unraveling

Snow, again, unnaming everything
as though the tight lines
of an artist’s drawing had teased out
to spider’s threads and blown
away in the bluster. Turn your face
into itlook upand you’ve lost
even the origins of snow. Snow as the source
of all snow. What in the world is as greedy
as these white fingertips grazing
everything at once?

The furred grunt of a dog in my bed,
his belly swirled with thick wool, side
bellowing out in a deep sleep, the tick
and fidget of paws in a dream
and the whole world is a loose canvas,
unstitched. Begin; start anew,
scribble any possibility as though penciling
the flaking pack of a snowdrift.

In our last conversation, you said,
leave some things to gesture and silence.
I heard, in that moment, the low
branch of a linden unburden itself,
And though I kissed the mossy thatch
of your stomach lightly, the heat
of my mouth had found snow
and its inevitable disappearance.

The cemetery’s full of small depressions,
sudden sink of boots, enough to snap
your ankle and overhead, snow snuffing out
the small wicks of their names.
My dog leaps and galumphs
through gravestones, tracking
a path from one lost creature
to another, the hard bark
of a stick in his mouth.

This is a March of two full moons:
one shreds down around us,
so much white:
paper body, paper woman.