Three Poems

Kathleen Rooney & Elisa Gabbert



Where has summer gone so heartlessly?

I slept two sleeps, and in between 


fierce winds and a wilderness of snow

there was an epiphany that didn’t stick,


though its beauty was ravishing.

What mystifies me is the way we 


ignore the erotics of detail, the erotics.

I believe that our ancestors believed 


they saw faces in everyday objects

like that burned tree that stares back.





I loved you when you were tiny, and I love you now,

but I’m an awful wretched bitch on no sleep  


with psychosocial adjustment issues. My seams 

are similar to your seams, but they’re not the same,


they’re not what they seem. The American dream 

is going to get uglier before it gets better, so


let’s find a grave to dance on, and put on our bellicose

crepe-de-chine. Lingerie and good government


secrets are nice by candle light when the electricity

falters; our feline vision shines in darkest night.





There are no synonyms for flirting

and there’s no opposite of an affair,


unless you count marriage. Whatever

we did last night, I don’t remember 


the unforgettable privilege of your

society upbringing, nights on horseback,


or mansions at twilight. I rely on virtue— 

your virtue—to guide me. Please, please 


say I’m more than your sexy decoy

toy. I want it to hurt when you leave. 

About the Writers
Split Lip Magazine

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press and a founding member of Poems While You Wait. Her most recent book is the novel in poems Robinson Alone (Gold Wake Press), winner of the Eric Hoffer Award for Poetry, and her novel O, Democracy! is forthcoming in 2014. She lives in Chicago.

Elisa Gabbert is the author of The Self Unstable (Black Ocean, Fall 2013) and The French Exit (Birds LLC, 2010). Her poetry, prose, and collaborations have appeared widely in publications such as Boston Review, Colorado Review, Conduit, Denver Quarterly, Pleaides, and elsewhere. She is a founding member of the Denver Poets' Theatre and blogs at


Together, they are the authors of That Tiny Insane Voluptuousness (Otoliths) and the chapbook The Kind of Beauty That Has Nowhere to Go (Hyacinth Girl, 2013).