Kyle McCord


We go to a Halloween party,
you dressed as a panda,
me dressed as a panda
The party is awful.
The toasted raviolis
are just wet umbrellas
full of meat.
All the zombie celebrities
remind me that death
is close at hand.
Death is in the closet.
Death shouting
out the window.
I want to leave,
but you don’t.
Then there is a loud noise
in the attic.
You go into the kitchen.
I lower the ladder.
I ascend.
My heart is beating
so fast I think it might be
a wolf racing through a glen.
On the last stair,
I step up and peer
into the blackness.
Behind a beam,
the panda sprawls
just as expected.
He scratches the wall,
drags himself along the ground.
I take out my notepad,
and begin furiously scribbling.
Down in the kitchen,
I can hear you flirting
with other partygoers.
I know it will hurt
to lose you, but
I have a higher calling now.
I can hear my parent’s
disappointed voices.
They spill into the air
around the panda den.
They dwindle in the distance
until they are one
melodious hum.

Kyle McCord is the author of three books of poetry including Sympathy from the Devil (Gold Wake Press 2013). He has work featured in Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly and elsewhere. He’s received grants or awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Baltic Writing Residency. He co-edits iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, and he is the co-founder and lead content editor for LitBridge. He teaches at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX.
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