The girl gives birth to a paperweight, whose facets immediately throw off light. It is small and hefty and the boy dutifully takes his turns polishing it. But after a day, a web of fine cracks splinters its surface.
The boy cries in his room at night for a week.
Next, the girl produces twin electronic devices, the little screens dark, unresponsive. The boy and girl sign medical directives. Do not resuscitate.
Certain mistakes have been made. We were powerless to stop them, even though these children are only as tall as our chins. We send them into the field to collect sticks for a bonfire, and they weave crowns of leaves for each other’s hair.
The school bus on its evening route hurtles by. The driver remembers these children. Her hand flashes in the window.
Kathleen McGookey’s work has appeared in journals including Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Indiana Review, Ploughshares, The Prose Poem: An International Journal, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, Rhino, Seneca Review, and West Branch. Her book Heart in a Jar was published by White Pine Press in Spring 2017. She has also published two other books of poems, two chapbooks and a book of translations of French poet Georges Godeau’s prose poems.