Saturday Sep 26

Mcilroy-Poetry 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 Editor of HEArt — Human Equity through Art — and works as a copywriter in Pittsburgh, PA, where she lives with her daughter Silas. Poetry & performances: here.

If You Still Want to Marry Me Now

Carry this small bag with you,
in it, my heart and a wind
tapping nervous, a pirate’s
split plank, preacher’s
rotten teeth. Brush against
it as you walk to the chapel,
feeling itch in your palm,
how suddenly the sky is
just short of everywhere
and the boat full of wild.
How to get here to there?
Hold it on your tongue,
burlap bite and dirty,
walk off the uncharted,
waves beating your man
body down. Then rise
to the lip of the sea —
splintered gums, salted skin —
the preacher’s last prayer
blowing in your mouth,
and should your soul
fill with so much glory,
give it to me. Give it
to me now. It will take
two to surrender.


This is how the heart breaks.
Never fast. Always rust. Tears
and a metal-like sorrow, eyes
drawn back to before, more,
a heavy, yawning yoke.
This is how the heart breaks.
shattering, a moment
or no moment at all, an un-
m/ended erosion, a beggar
moving in, his stone pillow.
This is how the heart breaks.
The wren grounded, hand
empty, wound open like
a window stuck, the wind
barely in and out, the wind.
This is how the heart breaks.
On Sundays mostly, vase
empty, bed bigger, the sun
like god’s head turning away,
his shadow, his narrow back.