As Ill As I Am I Am
Your violin, first thing I knew to call brightness. The first snow
a sorry pushed under your door after Kevin named you man-eater
& I filled my mouth with bread. Look how young I was
with my silence. Look at the cruel coat it wore.
As though I’d taken all the leaves you’d saved,
ripped them down from their place at the window. All this
to say we are not the same. All this to say I wish I could change that.
The pocked road to Florence, forever bearing left to the mill
filled with books. Lone wolf tapping trees, I walked
Maple Street until it frayed. In letters sent from Florida,
California, Massachusetts: sometimes waves
drawn with oil pastels while children slept, sometimes
I can’t find my home. How there isn’t an adequate word to mean
both mother & gone. Song for a young mouse, song for a sun-
flower. To know yet not be able to touch all the times we’d wish
for death on stars. You tell me there is someone you love now
& all I want to ask is Have you been eating? Is your body still
or still a house? The name you don’t use anymore
plays in 4/4 time. Every sick & punched-in wall flagged
as experience. Our smallest hopes, our small green pills.
Arms stretched back toward where plums were
devoured & we laughed so hard they searched our pupils
for an answer. We were fountains they could hear
on the other side of town, hearts pinned to denim,
caked with curry powder or calloused from fine strings,
our hands. All this to say I can’t stop remembering
how some months we stayed in bed to stay on earth
because we’d promised each other we would.
from Nothing Granted
Best friend, become a list
I want to think of. A promise
where life starts with heaven,
open. I think it’s meant to be
bright, always rolling behind,
but all I see is a girl you don’t
save. Don’t lead with This is what it’s like
without you. A choice, my worst.
here I fall back to hear what I was.
Days go by when I do nothing ever
but line the edge of myself. Remember
want, what I wanted? What I want
is never love, but behavior changed.
I’m beside you stretched out or slouched
and tell me who is the angel in glass
inside and who else do we number
or slip from which is to say Drink up.
Sunlight you know and the good fruit.
Tell me you believe the world
is done. Ask for more stubborn
blessings, everything still. The snow
falling enough to make you
a man, a hole I could
imagine so empty.
ANNA MEISTER is an MFA candidate in Poetry at New York University, where she serves as a Goldwater Writing Fellow. A Pushcart Prize & Best of the Net nominee, her poems are forthcoming in Whiskey Island, Powder Keg, Barrelhouse, The Adroit Journal & elsewhere. Anna is a 2015 Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts Fellow. She lives & works in Brooklyn.
READ AND LISTEN
Issue 7 Playlist