Jill Mceldowney: June 2018 Poet of the Month



I know the name of the first horse I own

is prophecy for the way I will die. 


Are you that horse—

all the keys on a piano 


played at once,


half child-half eaten 


apple? Your teeth mark my future: 


beaten water,

the rush imbedded swan, 

radio waves—

rising, striking, rising,



hive of






face down in the water. 


Now I feed you from my own palm, 

a demonstration of faith.




When I say love

I mean I can’t


stay here—


not like this

where he can’t control

his fists, 

my fists,


where we are frantic

on the confused minute hands of time.


I mean my hands shake all day. 


God is not a sensible watchmaker. 


I can’t say what to the day’s stutter,

ask it if we are still friends. 


It unnails my body, 

the doorframe for him to cross


busted stars, 

throwing elbows, love as resistance 

but not always


to fuck on the lid of a closed piano. 


They’ll never show sex

in silent movies. 


I spread salt

in perfect line across a threshold—

he who means me harm

cannot cross—but


it’s like how he promises to leave. 

Instead, he never leaves.

Jill Mceldowney is the author of the chapbooks Kisses Over Babylon (dancing girl press 2016) and Paradise Woods (forthcoming. She is a cofounder and editor of Madhouse Press. Her previously published work can be found in journals such as Vinyl, the Sonora Review, Fugue, Whiskey Island and other notable publications.