Erin L. McCoy

Issue 14 · Fall 2014



By 4 a.m., the summer was 
over. Beds swayed beneath the roof 
in stacks. A breeze slipped in: the walls
had cracked, splayed open by
a temperate moisture. We never 
dreamed: the sun just was our faces,
was. From spelunking to the creeks, 
a sworn-shut map: the bound world ours. 
Builders we, these first lithe muscles: future ruins 
for a march of more, and bubbling
springs: our blood and mouths; these
aqueducts: so ever downward. So
it was, and so no visions 
of contagion: hordes 
of geese, V’ing south with 
shadows on their shoulders; swarms of 
leaves — once perched inside 
the boundless woods. 
Even before, the trees blinked
shadow-summers where the field 
stopped short: a line between us
and beasts, who chased
south geese, pinched leaves from 
trees, who were uncountable 
and patient. 


Our Monster 

Pope Lick being one of many
strange Knobs gulches—train-trestled, rotting
stringers along ranks of warped boards,
subjects to Master Monster and each soot-

engorged: rust creeps 
like lines of kudzu up from roots of soak.
Spongy brains awe past it in their yellow
torpedoes: yellow for what school is 

is for cowardly lions, whose fur speckles
along the spine for fear of climbing. But who
sees shadows of a goat-man 

is inevitably lying. So that night soaked
hip-high in soot, blind-stepping over Pope Lick gully 
far beneath, grass cropped low with goatly teeth, to
un-soften what plummets

if a cool train blows. 
Where, along this branch, lodges a goat’s nest
for your baby terrors? Or do these 

crawl up your knees like ice
so you trip between two ties
a rust-green engine purring 

so very young. Think of all that you will learn. 


Figurine work 

I’ve come to the barrel of the sea with flocks of geese bobbing on the tips of my fingers

Here now, the icing green village on the brink of a snub-nosed cliff on the island

There we found all the light bulbs were broken, upended, insides pooling to frogbaths

Where the sun trickled out from tips of jagged glass like it was breaking back to sand and gold 

I’ve come to the delta of the Mississippi where the moss-thick mud cakes my wrists 

I’d gone to the Bornean feast where thick-eyed pygmy elephants bumbled between our knees

I’ve found all things trappable, palmable, explainable, and boxed these

All caught in unnatural postures

Figurine work: bright paint for every polishable corner