Two Poems • John McKernan

Dental Floss

John Berryman tripped on dental floss
Over a Mississippi River bridge

Hart Crane couldn't hold on
To the dental floss trolling behind
That sleek cruise ship

Anne Sexton kept flossing
Those beautiful teeth
To breathe more
Carbon monoxide

Papa Doom
Mama Death
Keep plunking that floss
On their banjos
Singing in flawless harmony

Ain't never gonna have to see these folks again
But be reading them forever


I Prefer

The music of hymns
To the lyrics

I prefer sunlight
After the clouds
Of incense have melted

I prefer the granite slab
Without your name
Without any dates
Without ice at midnight

I definitely preferred
Your laughter
To this silence
Especially when we went fishing at dawn
And caught nothing Nothing at all


John McKernan - who grew up in Omaha Nebraska -
taught for many years at Marshall University. 
He edits ABZ Press. His most recent book is Resurrection 
of the Dust. He has published poems in The 
Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, 
Virginia Quarterly Review, The Journal, 
Antioch Review, Guernica, Field and many other magazines.