MY OWN HELL TO RAISE
Crinkle-cut French fries dipped in sugar
packets before I woke somewhere else
without my shoes. I know what they do
to the burgers back there, know everyone’s tweaking
or coming down hard. I’m not, he liked to say,
a bad guy, but he blew smoke in my face
& blew me off. Try to imagine holding the spoon
until it’s hot or being kissed like a swarm. My stomach
full of lemons in the guest bathroom. My uncle died
& it should’ve been me was what everyone thought
or I thought so. First one made me do it
& made me feel dumb, but it seems silly now.
Once I punched a boy when he called me a ghost.
Couldn’t have been slower at becoming, as in,
I was forgotten & so hungry. Bruised
by any barely-touch, always coughing & catching
whatever. There was a sink in my room, a mouse
eating my chocolate. I want to say everyone was
worried about me. A couple months in Minnesota
& a rum bottle bought by some guy outside
the grocery store hidden under the bed.
Was I alive? Hey Mister. I was
just a body I didn’t know.
AS IF WITH OUR EYES CLOSED
We shared a house once. Named it Hell.
Minds abandoned for autumn’s grand
experiment to live off cottage cheese, oatmeal,
gin. Whole papers written in an evening
on the plaid couch, nose dripping
something orange Scott crushed for me.
The backyard all weeds & fire, tree tied up
with bottles, proof we were real bad.
Plenty of things happened in that place:
potato bag pissed on mid-party,
dreams of falling to cold bathroom tile
& staying there. A bracelet
that wouldn’t come off no matter
how hard I yanked. I had to leave
& wasn’t it easy to give you all the blame
as, still soft, you watched
from the garage my packed car
pulling over gravel. Long drive west
toward a different windowless room.
ANNA MEISTER is an MFA candidate in Poetry at New York University, where she serves as a Goldwater Writing Fellow. Her poems are forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Souvenir, Reality Beach, & her chapbook NOTHING GRANTED will be published by dancing girl press in 2016. Anna lives & works in Brooklyn.