Three Poems
Kathleen Rooney and Elisa Gabbert


Sometimes I think I still think I can fly, if I just try
to build an ornithopter in my woodshop: complex, intrepid.

The sleepwalker always aspired to set the groggy world agog,
but the awakewalker rejects this. Embarrassed of her house dress.

An affinity for spondees -- hotdog, cupcake, football, snowstorm --
makes for concrete word salad. The spontaneity of our outbursts is intrepid.

She'd arranged the cocoons around the room's perimeter.
I'd followed, slipping them one by one into the folds of my dress.

Conifer or Javelin might be good names for children, we'd say.
Or Henry the Pilot. My grandfather was a good man, intrepid.

She was crazy for my genealogy. She ran through & through
my family tree, then vanished. Branches in her hair. No forwarding address.

Tips for Better Writing

Circle skirt. Coloratura. Clarissa Dalloway. Let's play a game.
Nobody's sure what the rules are. You go first.

Lust. Trust. The great unsatisfiable. The brute fact is,
"review" is not a genre. When you major in English literature

you'll wish you'd littered your life with less useless
bullshit. One star, two stars. You're better off embittered

& carless than carred & idealistic, haunting themed bars.
P.S. If you ask who's winning, you automatically lose.

Exacto knife. De facto. Ex post facto. There's no time limit
per se. But eventually you'll die. Come on, put your heart in it.


The workmen have torn it. The billboard's gone blank.
I don't know what to stare at while I'm trapped in the tragic

evening traffic. It's the daily 6:00 p.m. funeral procession.
My car's like a hearse in a dress rehearsal. These are the magic

hours, but nobody's filming them. That sunset, that bridge.
Who are they trying to impress. They want to be tragic,

majestic symbols, but in the cartoon-wavery, exhaust-filled air
their charm is charmless, their grandeur harmless, & their magic

as magic-less as a sideshow tourbus. Less unicorn, more horse-
of-course: the audience honks a collective horn. More tragic,

less comic is what we imagine we want. The million of us
can't be wrong. Or we at least want someone to right us, like magic.