Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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I Dream I Meet Irene McKinney at the Ruined House of the Photographer

Step inside, the air is heavy wet
newsprint or scent of vinegar, walls
graffitied and barely lit. It’s time to go.
I tell her what she means to me, or try.
Quick as spit she pulls us up the stairs,
carpeted in the casings of beetles age-soft.
Birds cry, sweep through smother of twig and leaf.
Whole floors heave, her foot is past the landing;
some treads hold nestlings, some snakeslick.
At any moment I might falter, fall through,
hide my face, manage to bark, “no more,”
as she hauls us, winded, into a room
of portraits. She doesn’t blink or look aside:
she’s like their subjects, like the open bureau,
a room hidden in a house, called on at last,
windows thrown wide for years to catch this light.  

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