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John McKernan

John McKernan teaches at Marshall University in Huntington WV.


When My Mother Visited

Us In Providence We drove to Galilee To see the Gulls And the Ocean Named after Atlantis Silent She stared for a long time At the tide lowering A rising moon in the folds of a cloud And spoke "I am surprised At how much a single hour Of Memory can c [...]

A Soap Bubble on One Side

On the other side The entire universe With Omaha Somewhere In between Lilacs tumbling down The dawn lawns of Cass Street A full moon still tilting its silence Into morning church bells Oh Time What a tireless slut you are Anyone Anytime Anywhere Anyt [...]

Sunday Afternoon

Clem was playing the accordian His children All eighteen Were outside creating snow creatures White crows Rimy tree shrews Iced cobras Gigantic frosted ants Glacial triceratopses His children wore wreaths of white air They were like his death Cold Fa [...]


"Not Really" whispered The lightning To the firefly "Not Ready" mumbled The candle stick To the oak log "Not a Knot" said The ice cube To flame's mantle "I am Not" intoned The entrance To the exit "Not Yet" screamed Gravity To the dust motes That wil [...]

White Thread

Cass Street Asphalt Blacktop Omaha With a dozen cartons Of stolen grade school chalk Jim drew flawless circles Hundreds Each one perfect In every possible size Tim scrawled his Mother's name And her nickname within Those circles: Diana and Dee Finn [...]

The Star Was Hidden Behind A Day Old Cloud

How could it have happened She kept saying The night Pouring down like rain Darkening everything The needles of pine The nests in the elm The night rising out of the ground Darkening everything Except those little cubes Of light beneath the peaked ro [...]

Victory Cry of the Unconscious Flagpole

I am a flag pole. I am one of those Who still celebrate The birth of Sigmund Freud as long as I Live. What that man did For my ego is simp- Ly unbelievable! I was going insane. I thought the young girls And the young men were Looking at the flag. He [...]