Before Anything Happened the House Had No Skeleton

By Karyna McGlynn b. 1977 Karyna McGlynn
the termites had deboned the thing
it was clean there was no saving it
 
in one bedroom a dresser with blue drawers
its peg-legs rested on pure membrane
 
a girl just stood in her underwear
ran the tips of her fingers over her ribs
 
thought greyhound no one knew no explaining
why she didn’t fall through the floor
 
the kids were drinking beer in the yard
the tetherball rope caught one girl’s throat
 
her mother’s face obscured
behind the porch screen the mesquite shadow
 
no one could make her out
her feet rested on hot sashes of dust
 
the sounds on the television were far away
as that big caliche mound looked lake a waving man
 
the president got shot
the boards stayed together for another three days
 
it was a matter of apathy or swelling
or everyone was too hot to move

Karyna McGlynn, “Before Anything Happened the House Had No Skeleton” from I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl. Copyright © 2009 by Karyna McGlynn. Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books, Inc. www.sarabandebooks.org

Source: I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl (Sarabande Books, 2009)

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Poet Karyna McGlynn b. 1977

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Youth, Relationships, Home Life, Nature, Summer

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

Biography

Poet Karyna McGlynn grew up in Austin, Texas, and earned a BA at Seattle University and an MFA at the University of Michigan. She received a Presidential Fellowship for her doctoral studies at the University of Houston. Her debut collection, I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl (2009), won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize from Sarabande Books. Her work has been featured in the anthology Best American Nonrequired Reading (2010).
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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Youth, Relationships, Home Life, Nature, Summer

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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