Meaningless, to ask how animals still survive
when left on their own.
There was never anything out there
to call mine.
The way stones, scattered, ring like pews
in the darkness.
And still I am told/what it means/to be a God.
How to give up. How to give in.
That a baptism is more than a sinking.
And still I am told/to point my toes
to ask the priest to bless me once,
The water like silt in the darkness.
Then the knife, still on the table.
The kettle, lid off,
I am told the scene broke me
in which/the alien/burst through her stomach.
That I grew into myself like a nettle.
The sky deep outside like paint/
the rest of the audience/able to move on.
Unexpected, the way the body runs
Even when the walls crumble,/
the keyholes/gone/or worse.
A few left the theater.
I saw your face next to mine, lit by shadow,
and said nothing.
Being beneath someone else for too long
is so hard/to explain.
the florist forgets my name
i. And something bruises like earth inside me. To ask/or not to ask/if she remembers how he came here, weeks ago, for roses. Daylilies. Whatever they had. Whatever/she could find. The morning outside still swollen. My neck, still swollen. Blood against my teeth like a cherry. How he wanted/to show her/he
still owned me.
ii. A chicken, with its head gone, still knows how
to walk. And I walked. I walked. I could do nothing but. Til he came with the sunflowers/from the house/now pressed/now folded/between parchment paper like time.
iii. We used to garden. Til the whole thing was overrun
with weeds, choked like a dog on a chain. Dust rising so hot it smoldered. I’d lay bowls made of ripe fruit/the knife used to cut the slices/always/with the handle/closest to my hand.
iv. In case he reached. In case I couldn’t.
v. I ask her for whatever’s left, in the cooler,
on the shelves, tied in bouquets along the back. I ask her for whatever’s left. It’s all I know/to say.
Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently working as an educator on domestic violence in Minnesota. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, The Harpoon Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more. She has won national medals for her poetry and a writing portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and was the Macalester Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015
Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize.