Robert McDonald

Dear Mapmaker’s Son,

If charts
discovered in
the secret desk panel
in your father’s

the road
to an imaginary city
or grandma’s lost

we’ll depart at once,
wearing only
our skin
and the clothes
that rest

upon it.
Indicate the way
to the land
of old feathers,
or the country of cats,
or the mansion

where almost
every rosebush
will tell you it

Dear Nineteenth Century Novel,

I want to caress
your spine
on the fainting

couch in Aunt Lucy’s
parlour, where
her scandalous curtains

ape the color of wine.
I tied those drapes back
with velvet

cords, allowing
December’s grey light
to enter the room,

to illuminate
feathers and china cups
in the curio cabinet, and you,

dear Nineteenth century novel—
I am just starting
the chapter

Lucy loved,
in which we discover
the heroine’s father was not

lost at sea.
I’m glad
you noticed my bookmark.

It’s woven from Lucy’s
chestnut hair.

don’t you think?
After all she died
in this very room.

Robert McDonald's work has appeared recently in Kill Author, New World Writing, Escape Into Life, and A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, among others. He lives in Chicago, Illinois, works at an independent bookstore, and blogs at http://livesofthespiders.blogspot.com.
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