2 Poems — Kyle McCord

Pictures of Us

Here I am mowing
           down tin cans with a .45
           while the dog goes berserk

you’re picking casings
           from rose bushes
           the gardener could chip a blade
                      on the whacker you said
                      like his problems were ours

and there’s you painting
           honey on ham slices
                      funny how you hold that brush
                      like a spear

you always were an Amazon
           in the kitchen

funny how you never smiled
           on your knees

when you peeled cotton panties and
           woolen socks to reveal what
                      I already knew familiar
           as a song your mother
hummed before bed

remember how you used to croon
           loud enough for the neighbors
           so trite and risqué

I’d brew beer in the garage
           you’d forget to leave the door unlocked

I’d leave ice trays out to fill
           and you’d polish off the brandy

There you are winking
           with wind whipping your sunhat

along the blue sand my face covered
           by a blotch of light unfamiliar

legerdemain I guess

then you’re dawdling in the waves
           with the kids clustered around you

so forgettable in your one piece
           ducking below the surface and gone


Haunter of the Dark

           After H.P. Lovecraft

4:30 A.M. it’s not my child but
your weird tales I’m nursing
in the half-lit study no chain
to bind the screen door to its jam
I listen to it wheeze

no good news at this hour the pilot light
of hunger kindles in the neighbors’
infant her cries piercing and choral
echo like some uncanny rite

on my newsfeed: Walter Scott
shot by police eight times
in the back


isn’t this what you feared Howard
a haunter of the dark
the black gulf of madness
it’s all fiction and real a being
demanding monstrous sacrifice

And at the edge of things
is the body of Walter Scott
the portal of trees where the camera’s
witless mouth consumes the flicker

at the edge of this poem
is the next I will write those days
are over for you though your haunter
steps from your pages to the blemished
topiary of a park then the geometries
become alien the cell phone
should be a serpentine statue
the man not a book fallen open
nothing is right but


your haunter is here
I wonder if you didn’t nurse
this monster yourself these hours
when light spins in the windows

the police have pulled a man
over outside my door
and I am afraid for everything
which cannot be named
the fleeting crows which are his hands
searching frantically in a glovebox.


Kyle McCord is the author of five books of poetry including National Poetry Series Finalist, Magpies in the Valley of Oleanders (Trio House Press 2016). He has work featured in AGNI, Blackbird, Boston Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly and elsewhere. He is married to the visual artist Lydia McCord.