My Poem “Torn” in Kin, Republished here as a Halloween treat

“Torn” by Kelly McQuain, originally published in Kin, Issue 3, September 2012.


By Kelly McQuain

At first, it’s only a hoof where my left foot
used to be, and the only inconvenience

is a shoe that won’t fit. But then, overnight,
a nagging migraine builds to a hard nub

that sprouts five inches above my left eye—
worse than teenage acne: a horn

my hairline can’t disguise. Left eyebrow, too,
is acting up—arching, turning black—

to match half a goatee below—I shave it off;
it grows back. And the hair on my left leg

feels coarser, and now my leg is bending back
—goat’s hock curving to fetlock. I try to straighten it.

It kicks back. Tail’s the worst; it’s forked
—a bit furry, a bit skinned—darting now

through a hole in my boxers. I decide
to call in sick. And it’s true, I’m in agony:

left shoulder blade wrenching, a loud snap.
On my back, a black umbrella unfolds

into a leather wing. In the mirror, half a devil
and I wonder whether hope might spring

from my other side: First sign, a feather.

Photo from Wikipedia Commons by Hariadhi


Happy Hallowe’en Season!

People who know me know that I am a great fan of Hallowe’en, and a big fan of vintage greeting cards too–especially Christmas and Hallowe’en cards. While contemporary spelling has removed ye olde apostrophe from today’s cards when it comes to the spelling of “Hallowe’en”, I like the old use of it as an indicator of the contraction of “evening”. Work keeps me too busy to do much decorating now, but I still enjoy dressing up, heading to friends’ Mike and Debbie’s amazing annual Hallowe’en party each year. My friend Gary does an fangtastic job turning his house into a haunted mansion for his daughter, Gracie–and what year would be complete without a romp through Center City Philadelphia in costume with my friends?