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Catherine Fahey/Soundings East


Catherine Fahey is a poet and librarian from Salem, Massachusetts and the Managing Editor and Poetry Co-Editor of Soundings East. When she’s not reading and writing, she’s knitting or dancing. You can read more of her work at

Morticia Takes a Mental Health Day

Indulging in the cliché of pampering, I get
a mani/pedi, eat
a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, and buy a vampire romance novel,

where the heroine willfully sacrifices
herself for love
or the idea of love, and I cannot stop reading:

like watching congressional testimony, or bad theater,
I am consumed
and repulsed and desire closure, so I buy

the sequel, where the vampire and the heroine
defy convention, get
married and raise happy half-vampire babies

who are doubly parasites, whose constant needs
transform the heroine
into a dutiful wife and mother who cheerfully

bleeds herself dry; and I want that and I
hate myself for
wanting that.

To the Young Girl in the Torn Dress

Your dress is older than you
passed down from
who knows how many cousins,
thrift stores, and church rummage sales.

The smocking has collapsed in parts,
sagging between snapped elastic.
The hem is frayed, the blue and white
cotton soft and thin with age.
This delights you
because through it
you can see the Band-Aid on your knee.
One spaghetti strap is broken. It’s been sewn and glued and
safety-pinned, and finally tied
to the dress, a great clumsy knot.

The knot comes undone
as you run through the sprinkler
towards the playground.
Your dress slides down,
the strap streaming behind, snarling
your hair, you don’t notice, you don’t care.
You care how fast you can run.

Soundings East

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