THERE’S SNOW IN THE WEST
& there’s snow in the east
& there’s snow in our beds
icing the cabbage. Since you left
me alone, the wasp nest
swallowing the bulb
in the porch light has gone
leaden & each night the asphalt
is honeycombed in its half-
while the laundry—frozen
stiff on the line—sways from its hinges
like the moon flag that waves
I am not praying.
I’m longing: Please. Let summer
be a good shot, an untraceable track;
let the beautiful animal of this working
class winter loose its vise grip
on your throat before the kill.
The kettle is steaming the windows,
lined with bubble-wrap, & the peaches
are ripening in their cans.
Come home. Come home.
HYMN TO A LANDLOCKED GOD
Perhaps as a child
you, too, saw
these stallion clouds
& knew a sky
with no blue
was a sky too
reverent to be
is the moon flag,
not the moon,
& you came
to know praise
as vertical only
because the earth
refused your reach.
There’s a tear
in the sky tonight
like the shriek
of a frightened mare
or the long wail
a saxophone makes
on a corner at dawn
& this is how I know
you are a woman:
we are both broken
in two by our own
creations. I have
looked to the west
in search of water
& the sheer faces
of so many boulders
stare back, their bodies
bent in genuflection
at the altar of the sky.
Why have you made me
know the sea?
Make me a bird, Lord;
make me a man.
Make me a barn
with a spine so swayed
it pulls back my neck
to crane toward the sky.
GHAZAL FOR FINALLY LEAVING WHAT HAS ALREADY LEFT
I imagine there were angels once, or at least the sound of them,
trumpeting some broken hallelujah against the ceiling above that bed.
There must have been electricity—a current—to power
the elaborate maneuvering that kept me fastened to that bed.
I don’t remember much: the arrivals & departures blurred as healing scars
& the kitchen always quiet. There was little concern for bedlam or bedtime
& the mornings it snowed kept me close to the windows, screens thawing—
like my want—wired & damp. At night, a phantom weight beside me in the
I imagine spring could have begun kindly & coaxed the steady stride
of summer into its measured snare—an entire season of sickness, bed-
bound alone with The Book of Hours—then swung hard into September,
pocket watches leaned open in palms like old men in gold rockers; beds
like deep yawns, yawns like gaping coffins. Lord, what was I
but made in your image: invisible. I come to you a cavern of bedrock,
rendered acquiescent. I arrive secondhand. You, Lord, are the woman I
longed to be
or be with, the walking ache of so many confessions, the merciful repository
in surrender. Come: weep in my arms. If you are the beginning & end, then
let us be
what we are best: the slow departure, the unlikely subsistence, bedmates
without a bed.
all from Meg Day’s Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street Press, 2014)