Kolleen Carney

Hangman’s Daughter

                              —For Dax

We are the weight of hundreds of bodies judged:
how bleak the night, this dense fog.
I gather my long skirt and snuff the candles.

In the evening when he comes home
I feed him soup, I rub salve to soften his palms,
calloused from the burn of the rope. I soak

his pants, speckled rust from the inevitable spray
when he yanks the rope too tight.
Father, I tried to call out—

how his eyes turn to mine,
slow like wax melting, how his rough hands
that have held so many fates

lift my body, and hold my body
steady and quick, just as sure as he knows
the tautness it takes to extinguish life.

Author Portrait

Kolleen Carney lives in Massachusetts with her husband, son, and several hundred Pez dispensers. She completed her undergraduate degree from Salem State University and recently received her MFA in Poetry from Antioch University Los Angeles. She served on the editorial staff for Lunch Ticket and is an assistant poetry editor for Paper Nautilus. She plans to teach.

View the website of Kolleen Carney