The First Week of December, by Katharyn Howd Machan

Henry came to visit me.
He said I’m leaving John.
It’s my fantasy, mine.
Nobody else’s dream song
can carry me so far.

I sat him down.
I told him swans were roasting
in my kitchen oven and we
could drink pomegranate wine.
Henry stared, nodded, slept.

By dawn he was gone
to Phoenix. I made coffee.
I knew most of my
hundred years had happened.
Like John’s. The stench of feathers.


Katharyn Howd Machan, Professor of Writing at Ithaca College, holds degrees from the College of Saint Rose, the University of Iowa, and Northwestern University. Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines; in anthologies/textbooks such as The Bedford Introduction to Literature, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013, Early Ripening: American Women’s Poetry Now, Sound and Sense, Writing Poems, Literature: Reading and Writing the Human Experience; and in 31 collections, most recently H winner of the 2013 Gribble Press national competition. In 2012 she edited Adrienne Rich: A Tribute Anthology (Split Oak Press). Wild Grapes: Poems of Fox is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

Katharyn pic


  1. Jan Presley says:

    I was familiarizing myself with Sliver of Stone and I found your moving poem. It–and my own sense of Berryman–will linger today now. Beautifully done.


  1. […] Rebecca Cook. Poetry by Dave Landsberger, Yaddyra Peralta, John Sibley Williams, Joseph Mills, Katharyn Howd Machan, and Patrick […]

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