Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Messages from the Children 
by David McAleavey

for Maia and Andrew 

Index card on the floor 
My daughter’s message or clue 
I am whar thar is no butey neer 

In the low grass where I was running a sparrow 
I didn’t see  
Crushed under my right sole 

In the street where I was driving 
A flattened squirrel with twitching leg and tail 

Andrew’s bad dreams are about monsters in the house 
Large fish 
Who keep following him 

We need to go down to the river, he and I 
Catch a catfish 
Bloody our jeans 

We need to really see the world  

We clean the fish 
Free the guts back 
Into the swirls of the tidal Potomac 

Airplanes drape their shadow crosses  
Over pagans and barbarians 

Sometimes we have separate needs

Sometimes nobody’s near

David McAleavey has published seven books, most recently Huge HaikuRock Taught, and Talk Music, as well as one chapbook, David McAleavey’s Greatest Hits, and has edited two collections of writing from and about Washington area writers. He has taught literature and creative writing at George Washington University since 1974. He moved to Arlington in 1976. “Messages from the Children” appears in his collection Rock Taught.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

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