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Kelly Madigan


Listen to Kelly Madigan read "Investigation:"


You circle in the road
ahead of me.

The viaduct bows over you
and beneath you wheels spin.

I barely have a handle on this.
Under the bridge you point out

the spot for finding bodies.
I concentrate on shifting.

A woman who looks like a man
clears rubbage from the boulevard.

We are past her before
I can tell you her story,

her son who loved horses
until fast cars turned his head.

She’s been mad at me
since 1997 but her head was down.

You ride like an investigator
and I have nothing to pedal or give away.

I would turn back and take up her hands,
tell her she raised champions,

but we are past all that and the road
turns to marshland before us.

You say you’ll go first and yell
back instructions about where it is soft.

There is a balled up shirt in the mud
but to stop now risks everything.



Listen to Kelly Madigan read "Coyote:"


This is the night, what it does to you.

I had nothing to offer anybody except 
my own confusion. 
    — Jack Kerouac

Because I make things up
I told her I thought we could call the coyotes
and since I had listened so closely
I yip yip yipped first like they do
and then tipped my head back to sail
a held note out into the valley.

It was the night of her mother’s funeral
and we were in the yard on borrowed quilts
and it was July and the stars were swollen
and low. My howl made her laugh

which made me laugh, and I told her
we needed to sound like a pack, and then
she howled with me.

This is the night, what it did to us,
and it was the first time
they answered.



Kelly Madigan works as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor in Nebraska and is the author of Getting Sober: A Practical Guide to Making it Through the First 30 Days (McGraw-Hill). Her work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, and Barrow Street. Visit her website at www.kmadigan.com.
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