Margot Douaihy

I live in the little blue house 
near the graveyard where trees
are strong enough to climb,
& if I spend an hour, no one minds.
Unlike people, time doesn’t die. 
Does that make it magic or toxic?
From the spine of the cedar
a cardinal calls: pretty, pretty.
It’s a strange art, listening
to longing, to secret code.
Each board of this little blue house
knows how to moan &
the old floors slope wildly,
like all good songs do.
My blue garage plaque says: HERE, IN 1922,
I imagine Amelia, young, her hands greased,
breath lace white in the cold.
Do you like my hat? she would ask.
No, I’d say. I love your hat.
If I stayed awake past midnight
I’d see a meteor shower,
but I can’t keep my eyes open. 
The last time I saw you, we held hands in a silver car.
The current between us made my fingers drunk.
Since then I’ve been walking through lightning
storms trying to feel you again.
Maybe Amelia can see me, grabbing at the wind.
Maybe it’s all for nothing, the words we choose,
the vows we pledge, the engines we mend.
In the end—if there is an end—
do we crash headfirst or do we shape-shift,
like characters leaping page to page?
Lately I can only read books about women
who don’t cross the finish line
but die trying, who chase
the one thing they cannot name.
What happened up there in that plane?
Did it hurt? We’ll never know 
the last notes of the story,
but at least we can choose 
when to start dreaming.


placeholder width 225px height 300px

Margot Douaihy, PhD, is the author of Scantron Lace and Girls Like You. Her true-crime poetry project, Bandit Queen: The Runaway Story of Belle Starr, is forthcoming with Clemson University Press in 2021. Douaihy’s work has been featured in PBS NewsHour, Colorado Review, The Madison Review, The Tahoma Review, The Wisconsin Review, Mystery Tribune, and The Petigru Review. She is the editor of the Northern New England Review.