Photograph Copyright by Kip Arrington, 2003

AMERICAN OPHELIA
Scott Keeney

for Andi L.

All summer she turned her pockets inside out. She folded sailor hats from travel brochures. Afternoons, when the children overran the playground across the street, she whistled in echo of the shrieks of the swings. She sent letters to invisible friends in Florida, writing that only women in cages feel the twigs snapping under footfall, or regard the angle at which cold shoulders get thrown. Nights in the candlelight darkness of her den, she sang along with golden oldies whether she remembered the words or not. She sang along with “Blue Moon” and “Mack the Knife,” with “The Thrill Is Gone” and some song about having seen rain come down on a sunny day.

This morning she finally called Big D, only to request “96 Tears” by Question Mark and the Mysterians, one of her ex-boyfriend’s favorites. She hung a white flag from her third-floor porch, and told the boy walking his golden retriever down the street that the flag represented the Fall Equinox. She phoned the operator and asked for the precise time.




Scott Keeney writes from Connecticut where he works as a compositor of book interiors for commercial and academic presses. Recent / forthcoming publications include poems in Columbia Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, and Whiskey Island Magazine.

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