Kat Talks the War Inside Her

             She says:
I found the connection—River
was shooting heroin, which, if you think
about it, is a river of chocolate or maybe
it’s one of the golden tickets to the factory,
and Johnny was really Charlie, not
the original Willy.

Kat not taking her pills again, she wants
to know who the real Johnny Depp is—
the one who owned the Viper Room,
whose band played the night River Phoenix
died outside
                    or is he really
Willy Wonka? But then, Kat says,
I thought Gene Wilder was the real Willy,
because Johnny left town after the
Halloween overdose, and Willy,
he would never, ever
leave a friend, even after
they’re dead.

             I say:
Why don’t you start your meds again,
they might help you with this.

             No, she says,
I got it figured out.
It’s the trees.
The gumdrop trees, the candy mountains
and the glass elevator.





beattyJan Beatty’s fifth book, Jackknife: New and Collected Poems, was published in January, 2017 by University of Pittsburgh Press. Her last book, The Switching/Yard, was named by Library Journal as one of “30 New Books That Will Help You Rediscover Poetry.” The Huffington Post declared her work “required reading.” Other books include Red Sugar, Boneshaker, and Mad River, all published by University of Pittsburgh Press. She is host and producer of Prosody, a radio show featuring the work of national writers. She directs the creative writing program at Carlow University where she teaches in the MFA program.