Poetry: Selections from Beth Mulcahy


you don’t feel it right away the usedness of it all
only later you think about it and your body
and what you’ve done
and the guilt and shame
that no rationale can erase
come settling in your stomach
and you wish you’d thought it before...anything...happened
and it wasn’t that bad...but still
he doesn’t care anymore
and he doesn’t want you anymore and even if he did
to give in again
would mean to feel like this again only worse than ever
safe from everyone with him
from everyone but him
from everyone but yourself
there is no safe anymore anywhere
you are always at risk
unwillingly used as a victim
of the power of desire
harsh and cold all the way through a vicious cycle of victimization only broken if you stop caring
You are only safe if you don’t mind so much
but the usedness of it all
never goes away

What These Words Mean

These words look like me
but they are only me trying to get to you like reaching across a world
of time and space in one day
These words look like nothing
but they are something more than that like waking up when it’s still dark
and going outside
to walk the night into day
and it feels like letting the outside
get inside you
These words aren’t the same as squeezing hands on a train but if you read them
they might tell you how
I’m struggling today with that feeling you know?
These words aren’t enough
but they’re all I have
like watching puddles pool with rain and pretending it counts
as living on water
These words may not get me to you but these words
these words
are my only way

Beth Mulcahy (she/her), is a Gen X-er from Michigan who now lives in Ohio with her husband, two kids and their loyal Havanese dog sidekick. Beth works for a company that provides technology to people without natural speech. In her spare time she writes poetry, fiction, memoir, and dreams about visiting Scotland. Her work has appeared in various journals and she has been nominated for a Pushcart prize.


  1. Oh, Beth, "the usedness of it all never goes away" "These words" got to me, and will never go away.


Post a Comment