My tooth hurt and then stopped. Hurt’s the wrong
word. More like, for a few days I knew it was there,
like when you have a cold and then it’s gone,
like the phantom ring of an alarm clock that went off
hours before. Am I supposed to be remembering it?
Making an appointment, taking care of it, but already
it seems like yesterday’s worry. Found an old pile
of journals, my worries the same on repeat, echoing
dying or not, or is Abbie leaving or not, the end is hard,
the beginning harder. Isn’t God supposed to be taking
care of all of this? My favorite childhood hymn “Be Not Afraid”.
Mostly because it had the word hell in it, liked to yell
it out in church, to my mother’s distress. What if we could bogart
our fears— my molar appearing on the train, oversized, comical,
like a discarded bag, everyone joining together to pray
over it until it healed itself or toppled onto the tracks.
My mother appearing in her Sunday best, all the commuters
yelling hell, hell, hell until she laughed, until she saw that none
of it matters, not the others in the train seat, pews, not the ways
we disintegrate. Now— I am my mother in this. Unzipping
her structured ladylike dress and letting it puddle
on the sticky train floor, letting the alarm clock ring, waiting
for God to show up, ready to tell Her smugly how very late She is.
Revere Beach Public Shower
A man showers off the ocean,
the water wetting the brick
of the bathhouse and he shakes
his head like a dog. I sit nearby
on the seawall. The sun warms
my face, my back, the first spring
of the year. Yesterday I told you
how boring sadness is, then cried
over the price of tahini sauce.
So close, desperate, so far, from who
I want to be. The word “almost,”
cruel. The man lets the water run
over his cheeks, I tilt my head the same
way, both tasting salt. Both alone and not.
The wind blows through me and how
can any of this be connected? How
could it not be? The man could
be anyone. I could be anyone.
None if it matters. All we are is here.
Wet faced and human.The beach, ours.
The sun hitting us in the samelight.
The laundromat is crowded
trying to get the week clean,
soap spins press the glass
in rows of washing machines.
The weather here is changing,
sweaters shaken out.
Change machine clanging,
quarters spitting out.
Lint and detergent boxes
huddle in the corner, I made
my baby cry, plays, and I
wish I was different, made
softer, easier to please.
I smooth the sleeve’s edge
of your shirt into a crease,
tell myself tonight, I’ll try;
make you dinner, take you
down to the beach. Strive
to see us the way you do.
Remember to be on your side.
The best way to love
something is to take care
of it, mended jeans, gloves,
pajamas stacked warm
and clean. I’ll hang our fancy
clothes around the room to dry.
Snap each of them flat.
Promise each of them I’ll try.
Megan Waring is a poet, playwright and fiber artist who currently resides in Boston. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Virginia Tech and is currently earning her MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her work is forthcoming or published in Salamander, Nailed Magazine, Mortar Magazine, The Legendary, and Belle Ombre, among others. Her second co-authored play, Archer and the Yeti, was produced by Greene Room Productions in October 2019.
–Art by Giuseppe Milo