K.A. M'Lady

fish tales

the Kishwaukee has expanded
it's slanting mud banks; catfish
and blue gill rotting along its edges
like the dying after a plague

Power Plant run-off coalesces
into a slick olive sheen;
where grey goose and ducklings
once frolicked is now
a toxic oasis for mutated wildlife

I vaguely recall a picnic there once,
before kamikaze water foul
birthed still-born hatchlings,
their two headed bodies
and featherless wings
unprepared for flight

my memories hold shafts of velvet light
caressing birch and elms,
slow sunrises and a chorus of fee-bees,
humid slow breezes dusting
the backs of my knees, toes
dug like sea clams
beneath wet, sandy shores

there are no other memories,
your face obscured, shadowed
like a death stalker from a Stephen King
nightmare, normality drowned
in the middle of a lake

childhood, tossed back like a walleye
too small to keep, stink-bait
in its belly and you're still hoping
to hook into a large-mouth bass
of happiness that, like any other fish tale,
will continue to grow

return to the garden of Eden

sometimes, when it rains,
I want to slide my skin off,
fold it neatly and let it rest
on the edge of my work desk, glide
towards the sliding glass door
and shed my bones
like work worn shoes.

I want to walk out into a sunset,
heavy with a spill of crimson,
throw my essence into the wind,
float just beyond the yard's dark ledge,
and feel the distance in a mile.

I want to dig my way
through a forest of peat moss,
bare the thick black earth below

as I gouge my fingers
through layers of suffering
and come to know the dying.

I want to lie down in the dark soil,
fold it back into my being
as I watch the sky shed
my recouped tears.

I want to fill the night with
lamplight till it grows to become
the morning, pick up my bones
at my home coming and slowly
slide back into each layer,

finally knowing

the ease of each surrender.

Friend of Jack

you've gone off to the great mountain
again, camper warbling, spreading
dark grey wings across the miles
and I envy you the freedom

your journey leads you
to Snake River, it's
soul dark coils of black -

a fevered sun strikes
red fire on white capped rapids,
rafters will pray - some
for the first time -
for their fellows
mountain men will wander,
one hundred hunters on the prowl,
their life's thunder pulsing
like giant elk in autumn's rut

I'll think of you
when you're on some trail,
Indian worn byways, trekking
first time hikers through
the mother's glory,

keeping watch for black bears
and light encrusted mountain lions,
returning novices to base camp, leaving them
to ponder the greater probability
of their so called life

and at night, as I'm watching
the neon lights, puttied onto
my ceiling, I'll wonder
if we both
can find the north star

K.A. M'Lady is a native to the Chicago area where she lives with her family and a beagle named Spike.  A former Police Science Major she somehow ended up in the field of  Insurance/Executive and Employee Benefits, where, despite the obvious lack of enthusiasm for math, she spends her days whiling away the hours.  Her previous work has appeared in The Dead Mule, Wild City Times, Lily and is forthcoming in Thunder Sandwich and an anthology titled "Mirrors in Flame."


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