Two Poems by Kate Gaskin

The Abduction of Fox Mulder's Sister                                                                                

November 27th, 1973


It wasn’t like
bright lights, a gurney.
There were no

white sheets, no black
eyes, emptily bovine.
No assortment of pale

instruments glistening
beyond a curtain.
In the movies a teenager

runs into a dark forest.
An airship of spotlights
crests a hill. Or else

a little boy’s bedroom
blooms greenly
in the night, his sister’s

mouth a perpetually
forming O. We are
always looking for our keys,

always checking the locked
door twice, waiting—yes—
to wake up. Listen.

There is no exam
worth all this studying.
No volume of blood

in the body
that cannot be taken
again and again.


Scully Tallies Her Losses


How many babies were taken
from me? I, a good girl in white
tights at mass, holding the cool
silver cross to my mouth. After all

I’ve lost—father, sister, my
mother, and Mulder, Mulder
who I never got to touch
in even the faintest simulation

of love—will no one write me
into mercy? But the babies—
This is the cruelty—writing me
barren and then miraculously

turning me mother. The first time,
my little girl was stolen, written
out of the plot without so much
as another mention. The second

time, again I was barren, and yet
they gave me William.
I spent a season with my brow
puckered, mothering, mothering,

and when I had to give
him up, I wasn’t even allowed
to grieve. We went back to episodic
scripts. I had to bury him

beneath the vast plains of my loss,
a deep snow the color of my coat,
so much agony to show
that women suffer most

when we reveal even the smallest
capacity for tenderness,
which is another word
for weakness. In the alternate

ending I deserve, love buckles
over me in a terrible sea of lights
as the ship above siphons me up
into a better world than this.

Kate Gaskin's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cimarron Review, Drunken Boat, Nashville Review, Guernica, Bellevue Literary Review, Ninth Letter Web Edition, and Whiskey Island among others. She grew up in Alabama and now lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and son.