this way— a rushing, a fluttered grunt,
streaking through the house as if you were
always ten minutes behind yourself—
than to answer her. To answer her asks
a full stop. An honest assessment.
The dark rot of a jailbroken walnut
under your shoe. To stop and try
to piece it together. It is the worst work.
It is easier— to be sorry than to fix it.
There she is: knees up on the green silk couch,
as if only one detail, among many.
Her eyes are open parentheses.
You are causing a great deal of pain.
It is easier to continue, add on
than to stop, exclude. There:
the nut, the girl on the green silk couch.
Crack it or cut it out. Make a goodbye
pie, a reparation pie. Stop, do it slow.
This is the worst work. It is also the only.
Karyna McGlynn is the author of I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl, winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize from Sarabande Books, as well as two chapbooks. Her poems have recently appeared in Ploughshares, The Literary Review, Seattle Review, West Branch, Subtropics, and The Academy of American Poet’s Poem-A-Day. Karyna received her MFA from the University of Michigan, and is currently a PhD candidate in Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Houston. She is the Managing Editor of Gulf Coast and coordinator for the Houston Indie Book Fest and Gulf Coast Reading Series.