My Anger Tours the State Capitol
My Anger touches every doorknob embossed with the State seal and will not shake hands with anyone
When invited, My Anger does not lie on the glass floor to look at gold-leaf stars on the domed ceiling, four stories up. The docent was late, the wood bench was hard. I am ready to give her a talking to. My Anger is not interested in the number of crystals on each chandelier or the time it takes to clean them. Too bad the House and Senate are empty today, the Appropriations Committee is not hearing comments—My Anger has a few things to say. For now, My Anger is hungry and hunger satisfies her. She counts the stairs back down to the glass floor, back past the unfinished portrait, back outside. If the sun would stop shining on her face, My Anger could pretend to sleep on the long bus ride home.
In the Basement
When My Anger can’t sleep, she makes sure I’m awake, too. She perches on my bed with clipboard and pen, and asks me to name the top five injustices against her this year. Her sleek braid is not one bit mussed. I tell her I’m sleeping downstairs. She follows and asks, What do you like about night? Before I can answer, she lists moths, satellites, and her pearly toenails reflecting the nightlight’s greenish glow. Now her stomach hurts. She stays in the bathroom a long time, moaning and retching and calling for me. I watch the blinking red lights that bloom on radio towers just beyond my house. Against my better judgement, I join her and stroke her hair. I give her a Dixie cup of water to rinse her mouth.
Yesterday I locked My Anger out of the house. I said Unless you’re bleeding, you can’t come back in. For a while she rattled the windows and doors, but the locks held. Stillness enveloped the house like snow. Dust motes lingered in shafts of sunlight that glazed my cluttered rooms. I took a bath. I baked a pie. Out in the yard, My Anger juggled bones. She filled three wheelbarrows with dug-up rocks, took an axe to the birch, and stacked the wood for winter. Already she’d shrunk to half her usual size. Black walnuts thumped to the ground, encased in hard green shells. She stained her hands and clothes when she gathered them. Even though she had so much more to do, she crouched in the rubble and cried.
Kathleen McGookey’s work has appeared in journals including The Antioch Review, Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Indiana Review, The Laurel Review, Ploughshares, The Prose Poem: An International Journal, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, Seneca Review, West Branch, and Willow Springs. She is the author of Whatever Shines, October Again, and Mended, and the translator of We’ll See, by French prose poet Georges Godeau. Her book Stay is forthcoming from Press 53 in fall 2015; her book At the Zoo is forthcoming from White Pine Press in spring 2017. She has received grants from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Arts Fund of Kalamazoo County, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. She has taught at Hope College, Interlochen Arts Academy, and Western Michigan University.