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Three Poems by Meghan Kemp-Gee

Updated: Mar 1, 2021


after Wallace Stevens’ “Disillusionment at Ten O’Clock”

The H.O.V. lane is

moving again.

No one sees

what I see, but I see

a thing or two that’s not

true about the people

in the cars merging

to inch past and

past. Not one of them

listens to old sailors

on the radio, no one sprouts antlers,

coffee-drunk, distracted, not a one

mascaras their ruminant

eyelashes. They’ve had enough

of low-speed crashes.

I think they all

know better.



The helicopters flush

them out from underbrush

detritus and underpass cracks to trot

imperiously along

the subdivision walls.

If you were walking home

alone, this is the time of night when you

might take a shortcut through

a back alley somewhere

in Mid-City. You might

hear what sounds like sirens or stray fireworks,

footsteps or the neighbor’s

baby still awake and

singing its ABCs.

You might look up and see a pair of eyes

hovering at chest height

flush and fill with light in

defiance or raised

in ignorance. You might see them bristle

and twitch in the beating

air from overhead. You

might hurry past, you might

take another path, but either way, you’re

getting away alone.



Your four children, two captured and

two road-murdered,

half-survive you, everywhere fenced

in but never

spotted, only once collared but

often captured

in their motion-activated film

traps, survivor

of brushfire and rat poison, quick

coyote killer,

Sunset Canyon prowler, canny


brook-finder, last half-father, old

recluse of the

Verdugos, good watchman of the



Meghan Kemp-Gee writes poetry, comics, and scripts in Los Angeles CA. She won the Poetry Society of America 2014 Lyric Poetry Award. Her work has also appeared in Copper Nickel, Helen: A Literary Magazine, The Rush, Switchback, Stone of Madness, and Skyd Magazine. She teaches written inquiry and composition at Chapman University. You can find her on Twitter @MadMollGreen.

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