Things I Missed

I was never alone with an abalone;

I never swallowed a spoon whole.

My parents never made love in front of me-

I’m not sure if they ever made love at all.

I was a fruit not ripe yet,

but born anyway.

The allure of dogs was lost on me;

I never understood the beauty of lamps.

They took up so much space,

and I wanted to push them off tables.

I never had a brother who went to war.

There was a casualty from Viet Nam

whose shaving lotion nipped at my senses;

we ate white rice flavored with oregano

and listened to Janis Joplin a lot.

The night we saw a Genet play

was the only time I heard him cry.

My friend Sue was sleeping on a cot next to us at the time.

She rested lightly, curious and unruffled;

I didn’t say goodbye to him properly.

I demanded instead that he return my albums, which he did.

I don’t remember where he went after the hospital.


Letter To the Twenty-first Century

I’m yours, I guess.

You’re not polite.

You want me online all day,

thin and lonely.

You say, hush, pretend you’re not in chains.

You say, look up at the stars,

never look down.

The old me’s going to start running,

the old me is bending and breaking,

shaking and making a stand.

I tell my beloved

don’t be reborn yet-

you wouldn’t be happy here.

The snow starts melting

as soon as it falls.

Mary McGinnis

Mary McGinnis, blind since birth, has been writing and living in New Mexico since 1972 where life has inspired her with emptiness, desert, and mountains. Published in over 80 magazines and anthologies including Lummox IX, BombFireLit, and Fixed and Free Anthology, she has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and included in the Telepoetry series recordings. She has published three full length collections: Listening for Cactus (1996), October Again (2008), See with Your Whole Body (2016), and a chapbook, “Breath of Willow.”

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