“Spring Catalogue” by Michael McNally-Costello

Reading by the author

Fast forward March

Wet, cold, mostly gray

Except for these few days

Alone in the Lone Star State

I roll the dice

I take the trip

This is the first-ever corona season

No one knows what it means yet

I sing Guided By Voices while washing my hands

“…I see terror in your eyes

As we go up, we go down

I can’t socialize, I’ll be institutionalized

As we go up, we go down…”

I listen to poets talk

About Star Wars, The X-Files, Saved By

The Bell, witchcraft, and line breaks—

Otherwise, I’m here

To meander along an unassuming river

To meditate on the well-worn and the wonder

Of the passing past

Here in this place and time we’ve never seen

To meditate on the burning

Of every memory

Is a blessing

One day


Anything in the rearview mirror

Someone coughs

Now I’m sitting inside a room

Inside of a bigger room

People shift, uncomfortable

In their open-mindedness

Nowhere to hide

In their skin

Fear spreads

Through the virus

This way walking

Leaves respond to an ambivalent breeze

And now I’m thinking about kangaroos

They cough

To signal surrender

That’s what we do, too

The sound punctures our sense

Hearing as well

As wellbeing

Easy to rupture as if ripe

Papaya skin and flesh

Quickly, unceremoniously, as if

What is vital?

Lingers in the unsafe air

We grasp the day before–

It’s gasped away

Be flippant

This is your corona memoir

This is Day 1

Call it the age of our collective negative capability

Two-thousand thirty-seven

Miles away, songbirds

Perch on telephone wires

Above the also rising


Their backs blacked out

To the sun their songs


Looking back from a stranger’s house

In Wellesley, MA, how

Will we see this moment?

Like falling

Out of love dulls

Pours itself into a single droplet

Spit hanging heavy on this

Budding branch, a boulder

Evaporating is what we call this color

Between now and

Predictive model #42

Spring is on the march to gone

Fading into focus

A film of feeling, still

Life, dead things, dreaming

What happens next

Michael McNally-Costello is a poet. In 2017, Michael was an artist-in-residence at Mass MoCA. His poems have appeared in Del Sol Review, La Petite Zine, Crowd, swank writing, MiPOesias, Unpleasant Event Schedule, Tarpaulin Sky, GSU Review, Essays & Fictions, Columbia Poetry Review, and White Stag. He has also been included in Best American Poetry and The Incredible Sestina Anthology. Michael works and writes from his home in Newton, Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife, Marissa, and their son, Liam. He is at work on his first full-length collection and is looking to publish the chapbook mss in which “Spring Catalogue” appears.

Image: “Tell Me Again” by Andy Fogle

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