Literary Orphans

Two Poems by Megan Waring

Bogart

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.

 

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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.

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Shoreside Laundromat

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.

 

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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.

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–Art by Giuseppe Milo