Playtime with Death and the Moon

cynthia mcgean


A blinded child god holds us, folds us

into paper airplanes, origami cranes,

and rocket ships bound for nowhere.


She pockets us with a winsome smile,

locks us up in her trinket box

with the moon that she found on a noon

picnic beside the starry-eyed

rivers of time.


Fine thing, a noon picnic –

as long as you pack enough snacks for the

hungry ones.


You’ve met them, haven’t you?

Death, Disease – Famine, too – and War –

always her four favorites. They’re game for it, you know.

Any frolic she thinks up, they drink up.


When the fun’s done, the fearsome foursome,

bloated with souls and laughter, toast.


After the choicest heavenly bodies

have been eaten,

away they dance, the fierce four,

leaving their friend once again

all alone.


With a wistful sigh and tear in the eye

she empties the contents of her black holes

and rolls the moon between her fingertips

reading embossed messages

nobody sees but she.



Based in Portland, Oregon, Cynthia McGean is an educator, writer and theater artist with a background in social services. Her work spans a wide range of genres, including short stories in publications such as SQ Magazine, VoiceCatcher, Kaleidotrope and The Saturday Evening Post, as well as stage and radio scripts that pop up periodically around the country. Since the 2016 election, she has been increasingly drawn to poetry, both written and performed, as her primary format of creative expression.