Open Excel and tighten as trash
piles up in cover letter hell. As if
there’s a point to it all. Bent diploma, itchy eyes.
At least softness is relatable. With a silver cup
in my hand I think heaven is where I wave
to the aspens in communion, sway slutty
in the dream. I ask to be good but don’t
know the taste. Can’t imagine leaving the house,
can’t imagine not wanting to leave the body,
walk out of the earth. It makes you all
so uncomfortable. Dirt pit out back means
there is nowhere I can get from here.
I’ve walked so far there might as well be mountains
involved. Ask to touch me. I’ll keep sending those I love
away until they stop leaving voicemails. A spell to forget
the dress where my hips won’t go. Fucking like a dropped penny.
The shapes the water makes are not unlike our folding
or how we one winter fell. I was fed for long after, now
I find myself hungry. Head held as if a crushed bird, boats
leaving their harbors. I hate imagining a loss I’ve yet to feel.
Best case scenario I wake to find no one
tried to hold my hand and no one died.
Take me in the hour of openness before the meds
get me gone. Loneliness enters as if dusk, then
the traffic of stars. Once I ate a whole fish
beneath a disco ball and the waiter
said he was proud of me. I was warm for days.
Already I am dreading my winter skin
while across town my dad texts me back
with one finger. Clean every dish and then we’ll see
what the night has in store. Why do I look so good
through the webcam? Why are you so far away from me?
White and blue, sun like marmalade under the knife,
his love’s shoulder. Our stretch was a hungered bruise,
as if boredom’s answer. So far back it’s blurry with too much
red wax whiskey, but it could’ve been worse. There
was a lack of actual loss. I remember the movie
theater parking lot during the dark January
we should’ve ended, how we came
across his windows smashed over good skis.
Glass shards in the leather’s stitching, butter
turned terrible glamour. Poor thing fell
to his knees, called me a curse. Went on to break
another girl’s heart because she shared my name.
I’m embarrassed when I can’t remember
the story, how the room unbuckled
with the punchline about the cat.
Some things are just gone now
and it’s as if my grandma can’t hide
her disappointment, patches of white
in my before and after. I wish I had
more pictures to spark or less spark
if that’s what made the mind’s gap.
My therapist mentions magnets, less invasive,
wants me to write a letter to my mother
I’d never ever send. So you can say
anything, she says. Don’t you want
a place to just say anything at all?
I put whole milk in my coffee today because I feel
on the brink of something. Because fuck it. Not saying
sorry sorry or anything at all, I affix my unoriginal
idea to what the day brings. What’s wanted is still a long way
from here because I said so. You clap at my chest
through the sage’s burning. Hello shame when I’m found
with an empty bowl. Hello yellow pill I’d met before
finally beginning its work. I have no idea what I’ll be
clinging to later. You touch my leg hair gently as if a beloved
pet who’s returned after running away around the block.
I remove my shirt, palm my breasts like peaches. I remove
the curtains; now everything I swallow is light.
Anna Meister is author of the chapbook NOTHING GRANTED (dancing girl press, 2016) & holds an MFA in poetry from New York University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Day One, Barrow Street, Tinderbox, The Arkansas International, & elsewhere. She lives in Des Moines, IA & at www.anna-meister.com.