A Poem by Kathleen Rooney & Elisa Gabbert

Burial Rites

If on a winter’s night you learn the worst
then go down to the park & lay in the snow.

If all the grace of the trees is falling
upon you, amnesia will come like a happy

dream. If you see the moon, then know
at least it’s 238,857 miles from Earth.

If birth scenes flash at you like real
memories, then correct your vision.

If it’s still there strobing behind
your eyes, then try counting, or whistling,

or holding your breath. If expectations
of death oppress your cockeyed optimism,

then gaining perspective might not be possible.
If opposing tyranny is on your wish list,

then keep insisting, keep ringing the bell.


Kathleen Rooney2 Kathleen Rooney & Elisa Gabbert

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press and the author, most recently, of Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object (University of Arkansas Press, 2009) and For You, For You I Am Trilling These Songs (Counterpoint 2010). Her first book of poetry, Oneiromance (an epithalamion) was released in 2008 by the feminist publisher Switchback Books. Elisa Gabbert is the poetry editor of Absent and the author of Thanks for Sending the Engine (Kitchen Press) and The French Exit (Birds LLC). With Kathleen Rooney, she has co-authored several collaborative poetry collections, including Don't ever stay the same; keep changing (Spooky Girlfriend Press) and That Tiny Insane Voluptuousness (Otoliths). Recent poems can be found in Denver Quarterly, The Laurel Review, Puerto del Sol, and Salt Hill. She blogs at The French Exit.

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