There is a

witch living

on the corner

where the four

roads meet

Her eye is

evil, her

nose crooked.

She lays down

the tarot


with wrinkled


Asks “do you wish

tea of wormwood

or henbane?”

She will enchant

your mind now

into fields of

wild roses.


All Fall Down


Leaves toppling from trees fiery

leaves red yellow green flames. 

Only this remains…smoky ends of days.


Days like leaves crumbling, shriveled,

tumbling down, falling to the ground.

Scattered into an acrid mound.


An acrid mound of sour roots. Our garden

grew from the wrong side of the moon.

Brackish vines are harvested there.


Flowers of despair grew a single fruit.

It tasted bittersweet. My laughter became

harsh.  My eyes grew oblique.                                      


I want to curse and cry against this world.

Fine dreams stolen…ragged and torn

like leaves blown in storm.


Storm winds strangle treetops, shaking,

foliage pulled from boughs.  Broken

by thunder pummeled through long nights


Long nights heavy rains spilling black ink

stains.  There is no solution, another day

done, another piece of the puzzle gone


Ashes ashes all fall down

what is lost cannot be found. 




Sneaks under shadows lurking

in corners ready to rear its head

folded in neat lab reports charting

white blood cells over edge running wild.


Or hiding along icy roads when

day ends with sea gulls squalling

through steel grey skies.


Brake belts wheeze and whine

snapping apart careening us

against the long cold night.


Official white envelopes stuffed with

subpoenas wait at the mailbox.

Memories of hot words burning

razor blades slash across our faces.


Fires leap from rooms where twisted

wires dance like miniature skeletons.

We stand apart inhaling this mean

air choking on our own breath.


Eleventh Hour


Wrapped in darkness we can

no longer deceive ourselves. 

Our smiling masks float away.

We snake here, there

from one side to another. 

How many times do we rip off 

blankets only to claw more on?


Listening to zzzzzz of traffic,

mumble of freight trains, fog horns.

Listening to wheezing,

feeling muscles throb.

How can we find comfort?


Say same word over and over

again again falling falling to sleep.

I will stop measuring what was lost.

I will become brave.


Let slumber come covering me.

Let my mouth droop, fingers tingle.

Wishing something cool…soft…sweet.

Now I will curl like a fetus

gathering into myself

hoping to awake new born.



About the Poet

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary zines such as Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Halcyon Days and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of A Hurricane Press and Poppy Road Review anthologies. She has been nominated four times for Best of the Net.