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Two Poems | Frances Mac

we go to versailles


and we find ourselves


you, dapper and tall-hatted


me, a yellow confection petticoated and frilled, face a sour pinch encased in bonnet like a freshly spayed dog


maybe i am simpering at some devilish flattery you’ve just whispered 

more likely we are arguing


pollinating the grounds are nippled topiary and ladies and gentlemen and children and officials with medal-laden lapels


we find tricks of light, possible ghosts


shadows cowering misshapen behind their statues, ready to dissolve into night like salt in water


the gravel edge of the path splicing through a coat


and one real ghost, we decide, because he is alone and his back is turned and he focuses on the blue burn of hills instead of on the manicured scene and we see him but are not sure anyone else does and it is that seasonless time of day that is the pause before exhale and there are curious empty boats on the water


we leave the met hand in hand and the sunlight blanches fifth avenue to an operating theatre and it’s fine, just fine, to be here today and nowhere else


a dream can stay a dream

we take the ride

Elegy for Sam

Not you, Sam, not you. You are not 

a first wave victim, you are not

a victim ever, you, in men’s size 10 

platforms on New Year’s, you, 

who whittled jam spoons from lightning-

struck branches, you, who cannoned 

footballs with astonishing twirls, you, 

who went hunting with your uncles

every Thanksgiving. You were a good shot, 

for Christ’s sake, lethal from the fungal must 

of a blind. Sam, even the background

on your phone was a photo of a photo 

on your nightstand, framed in cheap white, 

of you gripping antlers like you were coming 

in to land, the ritual christening of blood 

on your childhood forehead. Sam, you were

wearing your hunting boots when I saw you 

snatched mid-dodge, saw you erupt wet 

into greedy hands. Remember that one time 

we bought train tickets to New York after 

the bars closed? How we spent the morning 

in a diner asking for refills, lipstick tacky 

on the rims, how we sat in Thompson Square 

and watched the bulldogs and eager labs 

until a squish of a woman told us to scram? 

How we laughed the whole rumbling 

trip home, sipping airplane-sized 

vials of whisky? Sam, I laughed so much. 

Sam, I was your acolyte. Sam, I know

your wreckage is still outside my window, 

rifle slung around the remnant, but I choose 

to see you next to me again, the boom

of your throat, the crinkled lids leaking sparkle.

Frances Mac hails from the Texas Hill Country and currently lives in Washington, DC. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The MacGuffin, Santa Clara Review, The Northern Virginia Review, and Steam Ticket. She is at work on her debut collection.


Twitter: @francesmacpoet

Instagram: @itsfranouche


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