John Madigan

A murmur from the collected seemed to hang the space above our heads and the celling.
It lingered in a way that made itself seem present and perfectly ordinary.
The few who dared to whisper were shot sideways looks.
Silence was the preference.
It was respect for the departing, or the-close-to-it.


I write your name in the snow and you write mine and it’s perfect.
Six months ago in December it was perfect.
In our sweaters and our gloves, being perfect.
But now it’s July, and the air is warm, your name and my name disappeared sometime ago.
The cursive you used, your teacher taught you in the third grade,
she remarked as sloppy and loping.


In the light reflected against the blue and green parka, spotted much darker.
The lake in fabric, wrapped auburn hair and her breath is fire.
The smoke from her lips loitering, waiting to ask its question.
She sighs as if in love, but it is to keep away the cold.
The bus is late and there is a glimpse of red.


I just couldn’t take you anywhere.
Smoking and sputtering, drawing a scene.
You swore revenge.
You swore blood.
As entertaining as it was,
I don’t think anyone believed you.


Twisted my arm, I let it hurt.

The face you made when I walked away.
Etched in stone, a plaster bust.

The southern drawl, launching from your mouth,
on the streets of Chicago.

I miss the way you said your a’s.

John Madigan is a poet and writer originally from Chicago. His writing had been published in journals and magazines across the United States and Canada. He currently lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.