one by one

      linked verse by anne mckay and Michael Dylan Welch


First published in Frogpond 16:2, Fall–Winter 1993, page 38. Originally written from early January 1992 to early April of 1993.



at the mission clinic    the woman’s winter fingers winding gauze                                 anne

        beneath the table    scraps    left by the dog                                                               Michael

eyes    ghostgreen    briefly in the streetlamp’s light                                                         anne

        opening the back door    the wind                                                                                 Michael

again    that person from porlock    breaking my silence                                                   anne

        moonlight    shaping the statue                                                                                      Michael


a distant sax    the artist’s brush pinched to a point                                                           Michael

        secretly    she strokes her sables                                                                                    anne

breath held    undoing the buttons    one by one                                                                Michael

        his face forgotten now    but not the touch                                                                  anne

tossed out    a bronzed baby shoe    with unread news                                                      Michael

        they wait    when they should turn to journeys                                                            anne

gone    with the wind    the red toupee                                                                                  Michael

        clown    tripping perfectly                                                                                                  anne

high school reunion    the valedictorian’s straight teeth                                                     Michael

        vinny and I    swapping sweet lies                                                                                    anne

home from the flea market    flowers    in a rusted bucket                                                 Michael

        scratchandwin    her fifth ticket today                                                                             anne


rhythm of the night sulky racers    almost a mantra                                                             anne

        grain by grain    the sand mandala                                                                                   Michael

this white    this toosoon snow    a bitter harvest                                                                 anne

        slow-moving train    between rippling fields                                                                  Michael

softly and low    ‘going home    going home    i am going home’                                        anne

        rows of crosses    a silver bugle                                                                                         Michael

flaming the coldcoloured window    paper poppies                                                              anne

        spinning prism    the newborn’s waving hand                                                                Michael

northward    seven swans    to the place of the long rainbow                                             anne

        the shiny eyes    of a stuffed timberwolf                                                                         Michael

beneath the greenbay tree    these curious prints                                                                 anne

        going-out-of-business sign    freshly painted                                                                  Michael


pinned to the back wall    the framing shop’s first dollar                                                     Michael

        with his butterfly collection    in winter waiting                                                             anne

all day    the ice-fisherman    on a yellow lawn chair                                                             Michael

        out of the lemon grove    the bees’ first flight                                                                anne

spring thunder    the red and white flag    folded on the mantel                                        Michael

        footsteps    fade into morning                                                                                           anne