The Housecoat

by Kevin McLellan

Younger, in the photo, her almond-eyes
and Venus flytrap eyelashes—now older
her thinning skin, the scabs on her arms
she picks, some just come off, others bleed,
and she dabs them with a Kleenex,
puts it in her pockets with the others.

Kevin McLellan is the author of Hemispheres (Fact-Simile Editions, forthcoming), Ornitheology (The Word Works), [box] (Letter [r] Press), Tributary (Barrow Street), and Round Trip (Seven Kitchens). He won Gival Press’ Oscar Wilde Award and the Third Coast Poetry Prize, and his writing appears in numerous journals. Kevin lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “The Housecoat”?

The poem, “The Housecoat” combines two non-fictions to create a fiction. I noticed a young woman in a drugstore chain with the longest eyelashes I had ever seen, seemingly real, which were accentuated with mascara and they looked like venus flytrap hairs. The older woman in the poem is my fraternal grandmother who, near the end of her life, attempted to use guilt to emotionally trap me for not visiting her often enough. She always wore a housecoat with used Kleenex in the pockets—an inescapable image, at least for me.


Congrats to Christopher Allen for having a work from HOUSEHOLD TOXINS being chosen to appear in BSF 2019 from Sonder Press.

Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

New titles available from Robert McBrearty and Tori Bond.


Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions is now OPEN. Check out our new category triptychs! The submission period closes December 15, 2019; submit here.


10/07 • Socorro Venegas
10/10 • Lilian McCarthy
10/14 • Marlin Jenkins
10/21 • Mary Grimm
10/28 • David Galef
11/04 • Douglas Milliken
11/11 • Janiru Liyanage
12/02 • Tara Campbell