Young Sylvia

Goodnight, moon. Goodnight, Lorelei
and Point Shirley and all the dead dears.
Goodnight to Mars and all her children
at two in the afternoon, in a room
with berber carpet and a brassy daybed—
she loves him, she loves him.
There is nothing else but his ankles
and knees and further up, an alphabet
or a bell tolling, how she sings and shouts—
she loves him, she loves him.
In a blue stitch of breath, these quick
and glittering half-past threes
take gray glugs of water as big as dowries,
or even Venus in the snow. What held her
wasn’t with a whimper or a red Magic Marker.
What happened was this: in a house
full of huge moons and blue currents
like sinking hawks, she arranges soap flowers
on a napkin, magnolias of herself
and coarse white wonder. Graceful the way
her hands dismantle baklava, or cannoli,
she loves him. She loves him. She waters
the houseplants with gin, tips the saucer,
and offers him salami—unearthly, sloping, askew.

The Day Before

The day before this poem, the day before
the silver planes, and stripped of all but my socks,
I stepped out of the perfect blue, the rubble,
to go skip on the beach. I scratched my mosquito bites.
I watched the summer bleed out. And everything I saw
belonged to me, like the land was once my flesh.
The day before the hell, I offered bruised apples
to mute angels, burnt books to the night.
And in the forest—the ants, the search dogs,
the daffodils came looking for me in my tatted lace.
Beyond my knowing and in the glittered air,
I had a rhythm and a frame, a hot cell in my heart.
And as I think, the day before I walked among the wires,
I smelled my sisters and the crushed dogwoods, fathers
and their scoured knuckles. Nests of the herons, I have
become wrapped around trees, helpless, whimpering
in the raw sun. I have fractured my back against the hollows,
been dragged off by the river. The day before I married
the dark firs, I was walking in my sleep towards their arms.
An odd fire tipped and shifted in the wind. I drank within me,
words, and raised two crooked fingers. These slow,
up-and-down mouths like ripping silk shoved me
towards my knees, and wrecking above me
was my beauty, and the brows of other men.
They were waiting at the bottom of a cliff, ribs
spread open like a horrible butterfly. Their hands huge
and pointing, stabbing at me, at the sky. Head bent,
I am wordless, gleaming over death, unspooling.
Twisting, and honeyed, I did this for myself.

Megan Denton Ray graduated from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a BA in Creative Writing. Currently, she is a first-year poet in the MFA program at Purdue University. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rock & Sling, Emerge Literary Journal, Ruminate Magazine, Cleaver Magazine, and The Sequoya Review. She is an old-soul, grandmotherly-type young person who’s trying to figure out how to be a real adult without losing her sense of childlike jubilation. She very much enjoys watching autopsy shows. She’s fascinated with taxidermy, serial killers, and anatomical oddities. She has an identical twin sister, a tiny birthmark that looks like a clover, and lots of Earl Grey tea.

© Ira Joel Haber

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