Two poems by Kate Falvey

Bound and Gagged

Mass. Inertia. Friction.
Movement was never a prayer
but always a shambling lamentation.

Air is an impediment, will,
its own remorseful friction.

Ghosts weigh tons. The hands
of a thready child gasping, grappling.

It is now customary to be vociferous 
and outspoken about such things.

In my day — I had a day – we
clammed, cracked, went belly up.

Then were force-fed down 
that fuggy rabbit hole

where all our piteous clamor played
awful jiggery pokery chess 

with a dodo, a duck and a maddening dread
in the tortuous dark inside of the head.


There isn’t a way to speak
about such things even now
that I am old.

Cracking open secrets and wine
in girlfriendly huddles through the years,
a stunned thunk over the salted nuts and cheese.

The destruction omnipresent, ineluctable,
inarticulable, a kind of vaporous grit
roughening up the skins of confidential

revelations, the air between stories
kinetic with a child’s clamped cries,
words wry and ragged and ridiculous,

voice blurred and bloated
with trying to scream
over fifty years ago.

Kate Falvey’s poetry has been widely published in journals and anthologies, in a full length collection, The Language of Little Girls (David Robert Books), and in two chapbooks. She has also published fiction, book reviews, academic essays on women writers, and work for children. She edits the 2 Bridges Review, published through City Tech/CUNY and is an associate editor for the Bellevue Literary Review.

Preview image by K. Haskell, an interdisciplinary visual artist, draftsperson, and illustrator.