Leslie Anne Mcilroy

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Bangles & Dogs

I want to understand the lying, not get caught up in the metaphor — broken hitch of it — how you hopped that train like a day off, scanning theArtwork by Gene McCormick menu in the club car, turning cards. I want to understand the wheels churning, the glee in the gimlet, how you were just in for the ride, the fare less than that lonely rented room of yours, all small-titted and damp. How you never saw it coming. One minute all steam, the next your heel caught in the track and what could you do but grease the rails, jimmy yourself out? And then when that engine hit the slick and jackknifed, weren’t you the first to admit your handiness with Vaseline? Didn’t you cop to that last drink, worn panties? But what could you do? You were trapped and that train just kept coming. Truth is, you were sorry you fucked that man every time you looked in his little girl’s eyes — in her mother’s — every time you considered the truth, but instead, tipped your glass. Fact is, you were right to save yourself, ‘cause there’s no forgive here, just ice and a hole punch; that freight and its boxcar of gypsies — bangles & dogs — left the switch long ago.


Leslie Anne Mcilroy won the 2001 Word Press Poetry Prize for her full-length collection Rare Space and the 1997 Slipstream Poetry Chapbook Prize for her chapbook Gravel. She also took first place in the 1997 Chicago Literary Awards Competition judged by Gerald Stern. Her second full-length book, Liquid Like This, was published by Word Press in 2008. Leslie’s poetry appears in numerous publications including Dogwood, Jubilat, The Mississippi Review, New Ohio Review, Nimrod International Journal of Prose & Poetry, Pearl and is forthcoming in PANK. Leslie is Managing/Poetry Editor of HEArt — Human Equity through Art (heartjournalonline.com) — and works as a copywriter in Pittsburgh, PA, where she lives with her daughter Silas. View poetry & performances at lamcilroy.com.