You’ve been wondering: how do you get from a squirrel to an ex-husband? Well, here’s your answer. Meg Kearney’s work in her book Home by Now is driven by narrative and her fantastic ability to keep the reader guessing what’s around the corner. I love that her poems begin here, go there, and end over here, taking us on a journey, using line breaks as suspenseful twists that upend our expectations.
I suppose squirrels have their hungers, too,
like the one I saw today with the ass end of a mouse
jutting from its mouth. I was in the park;
I’d followed the stare of a dog, marveled
as the dog seemed to marvel that the squirrel
didn’t gag on the head, gulped so far down
that squirrel’s throat nearly all that was visible
was the grey mouse rump, its tail a string
too short to be saved. The dog and I couldn’t
stop gawking. The squirrel looked stunned himself —
the way my ex, The Big Game Hunter, looked
when I told him I was now a vegetarian.
We’d run into each other at a street fair
in Poughkeepsie. The hotdog he was eating
froze in his hand, pointed like a stubby finger,
accused me of everything I’d thought
I’d wanted, and what I’d killed to get it.
Purchase Meg’s book Home by Now directly from Four Way Books.
Visit Meg’s website, where you’ll find this poem, and others.
Visit the Solstice Low-Residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Pine Manor College, where Meg is the Director.