The girl in the feather skirt opens door number two. Behind door number one are rain and hail, tornadoes, a roiling mess. Door number three conceals a hearse. She doesn’t mind silence, so she drives around her island. She just got her learner’s permit. It’s slow going, but she likes the wind on her skin, how the hearse gleams like polished leather, even the steep hills with no barriers between herself and the sea. Alone on the road, the girl tightens her seatbelt as kitchen windows blink past: a woman peels carrots: a man sharpens knives. A dog howls behind a picket fence. The girl in the feather skirt never thinks about the other doors. She hums. A door is not the story of a bright blue sky. She memorizes fractions and their decimal equivalents. She pets her skirt which she wears like an invisible shield. Like an opal, its color changes by increments, depending on the light.
Kathleen McGookey has published three books of poems, most recently Heart in a Jar (White Pine Press). Her work has appeared in journals including Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, and Quarterly West. She has received grants from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sustainable Arts Foundation.