Marty McConnell

the sin of perfectionism

Because I have failed so often and so loudly
there’s a thin child in me who loves
other people’s disasters. Watches them
with an almost envy, these lucky who’ve been
to where it’s as bad as it’s going to get and are headed
back. The broader disasters do not qualify—it isn’t
all suffering she loves a little
to witness, not the cancers or the crashes,
terrible laws or wars, but the controlled burn
of the called-off betrothal, the shun of some
once beloved friend after some final unforgivable
action, the towering job unveiled as a prison.
When I burn the pan and can’t
keep the bedroom clean, when the plants yellow
and the overdraft flag goes up and that deadline
hangs behind me, a target
with the arrow planted deep in the hard ground
beside it, she comes to sit with me, a cat
with a mouse heart in her mouth,
all these little bloody gifts
so many rubies around my crooked feet.

Author Portrait

Marty McConnell lives in Chicago, Illinois, and received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has recently appeared in Best American Poetry, Vinyl, Southern Humanities Review, Gulf Coast, and Mid-American Review. Her first full-length collection, wine for a shotgun, was published by EM Press, and her first nonfiction book, Gathering Voices: Creating a Community-Based Poetry Workshop, is forthcoming in 2018 from YesYes Books.

View the website of Marty McConnell