This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Stephanie Erdman, is from How Bright the Wings Drive Us, a collaborative work by Morag Anderson, Barbara DeCoursey Roy, Maeve McKenna, and Audrey Molloy, released by Dreich in 2021.
Heroes Work Here 2020
By Barbara DeCoursey Roy
She leaves in the dark, and comes home in it. Bleary as a bartender at last call. Tosses trousers, shirt, bra, panties, socks and shoes into a tall kitchen garbage bag. She will wash them tomorrow, if she doesn’t sleep all day. Walking naked through the quiet house, she hopes the shower doesn’t wake the baby, forgets water is for more than sanitizing. She trained to be a surgeon, not a butcher. Stolen hands forcing air into stolen lungs, stealing her future. Water won’t erase the stench of defeat that clings to her skin; the gaping mouths, flailing arms, drowning visages crowding her dreams. Stumbling toward the foldout bed, she reproves herself for the bath she didn’t give her daughter, the bedtime story they didn’t read, the new words she didn’t hear, the petty jealousy she feels; her mother-in- law having dinner with her husband, sitting in her chair.
Barbara DeCoursey Roy is an American poet living in the woods outside St Louis, Missouri. Her poetry has been published in The Galway Review, Headstuff, Skylight 47, Pendemic, Open Rivers (an online journal of the University of Minnesota), Popshot Quarterly, and The Galway Advertiser. Along with three other poets, Barbara won first place in the 2021 Dreich Alliance. She is a founding member of Poets Abroad, an international poetry workshop.
Morag Anderson is a Scottish poet. Her chapbook, Sin Is Due to Open in a Room Above Kitty’s (Fly on the Wall Press, 2021) is a Poetry Book Society recommendation. She was placed in the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition 2021, the Edwin Morgan Trust Competition 2021, and selected for Best Scottish Poem 2021. Her work has been widely anthologised and appears in journals such as Finished Creatures, Gutter, Popshot Quarterly. She is currently working on commissions by the Scottish Poetry Library.
Maeve McKenna lives in rural Sligo, Ireland. Her work has been placed in several international poetry competitions and published widely in print and online. Maeve was a finalist in the Eavan Boland Mentorship Award 2020, third in Canterbury Poet of The Year 2021 and a Pushcart nominee 2022. Her debut pamphlet, A Dedication to Drowning, was published in February 2022 by Fly on The Wall Press. She is currently working on a second pamphlet due for publication in September 2022 with Rare Swan Press.
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