from As If
Your body a rock I press against, My anxiety bottled
like bitters. Just a dash in any drink. It’s so sticky now
I can’t imagine us in snow. The sun porch in another season,
a pearl purchased. There was a time I sat back to the radiator
while boys made a revolving door, slinging sacks and spilling juice.
I was nameless, just visiting. Turning my nightmares true, real
witchy shit. I once could catalogue all of it, now it turns
I’m a sieve. Losing bits I thought I’d always have, my hands
as if too full of winnings. Behind the treehouse I swam slack
and bald. I pushed over hay bales. Accepted bouquets of carrots,
my anger found in an iHOP. Learned to call a rape a rape. Find me
milling through mint with my largest knife, body kept busy, mind
kept from fraying at the thought of sinkholes and other endings.
Sometimes there’s a quiet missing the bean fields and hidden
crooked trees, our red fire escape shaking danger beneath
sloppy steps. When a man flies across the country for you,
be embarrassed by your pull. You make people wanna leave
their promises. Only choose what you could share a kitchen with,
Templeton and cherry jam. Pink smithsonite flush. Watch
the raccoon family watching us, call it a sign.
from As If
I used to think silence was beautiful, but now I get why
we all need to be shouting loud as that summer the couch had fleas.
When the gallery wall told me to cry I was already crying.
The world is full of active losses and my body knows it.
I make Moroccan chicken red as what spills from me
and I miss you so hard. My body bruises like an arrow
and you already know. It’s frightening to call someone you know
will pick up. Smoke blown after lots of talking or not talking
which can be different than silence. Talking makes everything
more real which is a problem here. Tell me the difference between
a change and an end. As if you are a canyon and I’m flying over.
We need mezcal and a lamp turning us oceanic. Remind me again
what might be good to row toward. What does deserve mean?
How can I ever? When I swallow a pill, it settles me and that’s how
I keep on. I whisper be well but how & for how long?
Still my knuckles go white at the word open.
from As If
The first real warm day I am forgetting stupid things
like the last time we talked. Days stretch as if taffy.
Oh, my sewn in sadness; how best to get inside?
Our weedy girl bodies, ink of anger through the years.
My shoulders burn with embarrassment. While shopping
for farm-fresh veggies I love to hide my face
in a peony bouquet as a way of avoiding my past
mistakes in the form of mouths. At home with my feelings
would you mind if I swept a bit? There are ghosts
in the shared wall. Yes, now I regret no pillowcase
balled in my mouth while imagining life
as a bunch of plants it’s not my job to water.
Anna Meister is author of the chapbook NOTHING GRANTED (forthcoming, dancing girl press) & holds an MFA in poetry from NYU. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in DIAGRAM, The Offing, Vector Press, Luna Luna, & elsewhere. A recipient of fellowships from the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts & NYU, she lives in Des Moines, IA & at www.anna-meister.com.