Wish and Spit
Kelly DeMaegd was born in Missoula, MT and raised in Alpena, MI. She was educated by western Montana lumberjacks, Great Lakes sailors, limestone quarry drillers and drivers, Minneapolis cabbies and steelworkers from Detroit, Toledo, Gary. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and her work has appeared in Wild Goose Poetry Review, Vox Poetica, Your Daily Poem and Bloodshot Journal of Contemporary Culture. She helps facilitate the ekphrastic poetry series, Art of Poetry, at the Hickory Museum of Art. She is a retired corporate executive living in Sherrills Ford, NC with her husband, Gene.
Evocatively imagistic, psychologically probing, and tightly written, these poems, each one a gem, are pleasing to the viewer, the thinker, and the reader in me. Rarely today do I encounter a book where every poem is as satisfying as the one before and after it. Wish and Spit consists of such poems. Then, taken together, they tell the story we all must tell, the one about how to discover, enact, and maintain personhood in the 20th and 21st centuries. Wish and Spit is the finest first book I’ve read in many years. –Scott Owens
Once she drove over the Continental Divide
her body, mostly water, lost its orientation.
She traveled east, crossing the Mighty Mo,
Big Muddy, to the northern shore
of Lake Huron. A mooring that pitched
and yawed on wind-whipped swells.
Like ancient cultures before,
horizontal made my mother nervous.
She spoke of Homer’s earth-encircling sea,
longed for familiar vistas, stitched
scenes of home using hoop and needle.
with trillium and lupine,
flowers that thrived along
native mountain streams.
Just before her break,
when waking waves heaved,
when furled ferns poked
through sun-warmed humus,
a Braille of French knots
into the stems and petals
of Montana Bitterroot, a blossom
known to survive a year without rain.
This is Love
She entered Wehoffer’s Bakery
twice a year – July and October.
Carried home a string-tied white box
that contained a four-tiered delicate cake,
layers anchored with moist nutty
filling, covered in lush buttercream,
shingled with sliced almonds.
She learned to bake, logging-camp style
using lard, mincemeat, wood-stoked oven;
donuts, biscuits, breads heavy
and hearty. She believed birthdays
deserved an elegant pastry,
swallowed her pride, ordered
a store-bought cake. All afternoon,
atop its crystal pedestal
the exotic confection taunted.
My brother and I caressed
its paper lace petticoat until
we were chased from the kitchen. After
dinner, without hesitation, our father
requested a slice of yesterday’s pie.
If This Were My Last Day
If this were my last day
I would iron linen napkins,
put the leaves in the table,
roast two fat chickens,
bake a chocolate cake.
If this were my last day,
I would surround myself with good friends,
disparate souls, my rag-tag family.
We would repeat the story
about Granny misplacing three
sets of dentures, cry
when we learn morphine
didn’t ease the pain, debate
soap bar versus wash cloth.
Together we would empty bottles,
crank up the music,
push the furniture back.
Just before midnight I would look
each of you in the eye, confess
that even though it’s my last day,
you, in your own way, have saved me.
Nothing Like It
there is nothing like cruising the hills
between Greenbush and Black River
midnight, full moon, headlights off
driving Ron Connen’s shit-brown
hunting camp car, windows down
smoking a bowl of his brother’s
stash pilfered last week while listening
to Zeppelin, wearing patchouli
tried again forty years later
through the curves on Brushy Mountain
midnight, full moon, headlights off
iPod playing Black Dog, sweet scent
of honeysuckle, eyes blurred
wondering how much longer
we’ll be able to navigate
a difficult road with such abandon