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Katharyn Machan

Some Dangerously Uncooperative Witnesses

     for George Saunders

Say the kangaroos never arrived.
Say the men with their sharp green guns
turned coward, ran away.
Say nothing.
Clamp their mouths, smudging lipstick,
keep soft strong salivating tongues
still as angels deem possible
beneath the roofs of their mouths.
A detective in this dark tight case
needs a flashlight, a way to touch.
This country is not really a country
and the citizens know too much.


Aliens, All Those Years Ago

We brought them religion:
how could we have been so stupid
when we wanted humans to survive.
Now we return and know it’s time

to eradicate all need for prayer,
goddesses and gods, our toys
shaped to perfection no living being
can achieve in high-heeled shoes.

Ashamed? Shame a purple wash of woe
across our spines, our tentacles;
we never should have allowed the shape
of curving glass full of red and blue

light that reaches to polished rows
of augured stone, of painted tile, of wood.
Dark books full of censorious words,
whole lifetimes buried by should.


Katharyn Machan drinks a large Fox-motif tankard of STASH Black Chai every morning. Her son makes mock-horror films. Prisms in her office window at Ithaca College throw rainbows on days of sun (eastern light). Her husband is a music-making Mason. A fairy statue in her garden broke in half and she stuck the torso into a heart-painted vase on a huge black filing cabinet near the Writing Department stairwell.

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