Carol McCoullogh & Kirsten Kaschock

Because I am three-quarters gone, I write open-ended definitions.
Because the world can be scary and unfair sometimes, I write the
doors shut.

Because I am still searching to find my way, I write to fill the gaps between hither and thither, there and you.

Because the world is a ravenous beast ready to chew up people and spit out their bones, I write knives and forks and p’s and q’s and zippers.

Because I am a patchwork quilt with pieces of my family and former lovers cross-stitched to cover me, I write madness and joy and hiccups.

Because the world is going mad, I seek some moments cuddled up with a book, and I write like mad.

Because I am so tired of your same sorry bullshit, I write death out as a preventative and a warning.

Because the world keeps opening, I write bubbles and buckets. Pop
and Bob.

Because I could not stop for death he kindly stopped for me—(shout out to Emily D!)—I write confessional science fiction.

Because the world is so much black and white, I write chocolate moons on vanilla sky with sprinkles. There must always be sprinkles.


After a bottle of wine with Philadelphia, she pulls up
her dress. I’m not that kind of doctor, I say. She says,
It’s not that kind of body. Would I look at her navel?
She just had it pierced, she fears infection. It’s lower
than most and there’s plenty of weeping and rending
of garments but no pus. I tell her: All is well. I blinker
myself, failing to note peripheral homicides, the crumble
of infrastructures. She laughs. The dress drops. She claps
her bridges together and I try not to stare at their sway.
We should get married, she says. Why, I ask, would we
do that? We’ve barely met. Because, she says, you could
dilute my poverty. She is serious. I insist, But I’m a poet.
Look, and Philly meets my eye with her deep Schuylkill
and deeper North. It’s not about being perfectly tailored.
She winks. It’s about lying with love.

Kirsten Kaschock

KIRSTEN KASCHOCK is the author of three books of poetry and a novel. She has earned PhDs from the University of Georgia in English and from Temple University in dance. She is the editor-in-chief of thINKing DANCE (an online consortium of Philadelphia dance writers) and is on faculty at Drexel University.