M. F. McAuliffe, long-time resident of Portland, Oregon, co-founded and co-edits the Portland-based, completely multilingual journal Gobshite Quarterly and material for the Quarterly’s offshoot press, Reprobate/GobQ Books.
Her published books include The Crucifixes and Other Friday Poems, 25 Poems on the Death of Ursula K. Le Guin, and the long and short story titles Seattle and I’m Afraid of Americans.
I don’t know what any of it means
sword arm aching, rebelling from the wrist
illness never quite reaching retching or infarct
never quite reaching the stomach or the heart
only the seat of longing for rest, peace, cease
All in make-up; all clean; all with their hands hanging by their sides because they can’t agree on a common prayer-book so they’ve brought none at all; all in their best sudden-funeral clothes, they all file off like dark cemetery pines along a roadside fence; all silent, all frightened, they all file off.
I come to work at seven-thirty. I start and seven-thirty and finish at four. We get half an hour for lunch.
As you walk down the corridor it gets shabbier and shabbier: the carpet turns from light green to dark; the rooms get darker; the carpet ends and becomes tan and pink lino; the tan and pink lino ends. Our lino is two shades of grey. Our office is woodwork-teacher furniture, old typewriters and four time clocks. All the time clocks are wrong.