I Would Wait • John McKernan

Until the midnight church bell
Swallowed the County Hospital in Omaha

To wheel up a gurney
To the room with its corpse
To carry down to the morgue

The silence
And the shadows
Punched the corners hard
I never said a word to anyone

When that phone rang I shivered
Closed the book on Marilyn Monroe
I was reading and set it on top of a Bible
I always enjoyed hearing
Orpheus & Dionysius whistle

Before they sang about sex or love


John McKernan – who grew up in Omaha Nebraska – 
is now a retired comma herder after teaching 
41 years at Marshall University. He lives – 
mostly – in West Virginia where he edits 
ABZ Press. His most recent book is a selected poems 
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.