Mule Skinner / Kelly Andrews

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dancing girl press, 2014

Kelly Andrews's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in PANK, Uppagus, Thirteen Myna Birds, Weave Magazine, Pear Noir, and Philadelphia Stories. She coedits the online journal Pretty Owl Poetry and has a hand in creating B.E. Quarterly, a sometimes-quarterly zine. She’s currently pursuing her MFA in creative writing at The University of Pittsburgh as a part-time student and works full-time as an assistant managing editor at an economic journal. She spends her spare time doting on her two adorable cats, Lornadee and Baby Goose.


The slap of the screen door
against wood wakes you
and you can see her high bun
crest the hill before
the white of her dress
comes into view.
She is dragging something
in the grass behind her.
She doesn’t speak,
but grabs your left hand
and you see it is the machete
from the wall in the library,
a remnant from your grandfather’s
house that no one else wanted.
She has taken a chunk
of your thumb before
you can blink and is pulling
the skin from your pointer
as you jerk your arm
and take a piece off yourself.
You start to scream now.
She is whistling “California Dreamin’”
as the blood spatters across the lace
embroidery. When she finishes,
one of your pinky toes
is completely gone
and she wipes the blade
across the sweetheart
cut of her gown.