Author Archives: Michelle McLean

About Michelle McLean

Michelle McLean is a former high school English teacher, currently a clinical social worker, and has written poetry for most of her life. Her work has appeared in Quills, Ascent Aspirations, Open Minds Quarterly, Toward the Light, Arborealis, Emerging Stars and Other Voices, and is forthcoming in Lamp in Hand and Joypuke. She is a grateful award recipient in the 2007 Dorothy Sargeant Rosenberg poetry competition for “young writers of unusual promise.” A collection of her children’s poetry placed second in the 2007 Writers' Federation of New Brunswick writing competition, and she received an honorable mention for a poem submitted to this year’s competition. Writing poetry has been both a compulsion and healing process in her life. Michelle lives in Carlow, New Brunswick, with her loving mother, devoted husband and their exceptionally awesome daughters—and greatest spiritual teachers—Sophie and Lily.


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Scalp, corset-tight;
muscles screech
against my bones

Flock of geese
in my chest

Map of the world with its new
and jarring colors —

               I avoid the mental math.

Toxic thoughts,
throat-choke fears

               spinning out

My mother’s lungs —
Weary as old dish rags.

My children,
everyone’s children.

Hands scoured raw,
doorknobs sheathed;

I exhale,
leaving the office.

Repeating mantras in the car;
even logic lunges me sideways.

My tires crunch the driveway;
I conjure a smile,
a perky greeting —

to curb the spread.

Sunday Night Bingo

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Sunday Night Bingo

— For Mom

All grief, anyone’s grief,
is the weight of a sleeping child
— Anne Michaels,
Fugitive Pieces

Your first born sleeps eternal—
A whisper in the ear
A bundle swaddled
at the bottom of the breath.

requiem exp

Requiem by Jennifer McLeod

I, alone, am the promise;
The fountain of youth,
the only ovaries left.
All the eggs in one

basket-case who tosses back Fireball
in the bathroom stall
of the Kinsmen, while you
organize sheets, situate charms.

Each clinging to our rituals
of comfort, our gimmicks
for chasing down luck.
I grow careless with my numbers,

uninvested in the cards
I’ve been given.
Oblivious; omnipotent,
the bearded caller continues,
I sense without looking,

your eyes
over my shoulder,
searching, as always
for what I may have missed.

Having learned in the most
unfathomable way
that life is a gamble,

you give yourself

to these games of chance—
addicted to beating odds,

chasing jackpots.