The First House of Myrtle

McKayla Conahan


When you’re drowning in nitrous,
the nurses hold your head down 

by the mask and ask is she laughing
or crying? When you’re screaming, 

and when you forget you remember
how they take your hand, or how 

your mother counts backwards as they
struggle to unearth your veins, 

you’re taken back to the end of spring
or some day in summer when you 

move away from the crepe myrtles that
confetti the yard. When you still think 

you’ll always be able to count on
that sweet spring snow blushing over 

San Antonio or the cascarones smashed
over your classmates’ heads, you’re 

in kindergarten and sometimes kids
mistake the jellybeans spilled in the 

grass for tiny easter eggs. Sometimes
you tell the teacher about the true 

uncertainty of the sunrise, how one day
it will be emptied, the way you love 

to brush the seeds out of the sunflowers
in your mother’s garden at the end of 

summer, each little black pod containing
another flower containing hundreds more 

seeds with flowers inside. When our
flower is mined, husk tossed aside, when 

we are left with the aftermath, like a child
after the doctors mine her throat for tonsils, 

know there won’t be mothers for every
sleepless daughter, to comb fingers through 

her hair, to tell her about all the numbers
that come before one hundred, ninety nine,

ninety eight, ninety seven

Return to Fall 2018 Volume 10.1


McKayla Conahan


MCKAYLA CONAHAN is a queer non-binary poet, drag king, and MFA candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University. They were raised in South Carolina and received a degree in Astronomy from the College of Charleston. They have been published in Sweet, Rabbit Poetry, Sink Hollow, Miscellany, and have been awarded the South Carolina Academy of Authors Student Poetry Prize. They currently reside in Richmond with their Australian Shepherd, Nanuk.