Two Poems

by Anna Meister




Poem For & After Me Too


Say all of us ever. I was told to stay lost. I couldn’t see through

the fog. Keys between my fingers. Because you think you get to speak right now.

He never said sorry. O intention. We cooked bacon together through the webcam. All the bruises

faded. It only happened once. He blocked my way to the stairs. The room’s windows were

small & high. I only learned the word six months ago. After hearing what you did,

I felt fevered, in search of scissors. It happened so many times. Everything I had

to restitch. First appointment, I said no when she asked. It happened because it could. It’s quiet,

but I know what’s behind me. Because of what I swallowed, I couldn’t say. I wasn’t

trying to dance with you. Heckling & having spilt no wine on his white pants. Whispering

my name, hair pulled in the hallway. Desk shaken. In my car, there’s not enough air.

To give it a name. There’s a moment before. After being asked Can you forgive me? This is how

I lived for months. When he “likes” my post about it. A night looped. Because they were told

not to say anything. The ceiling’s silence. Counting while it happens, keeps happening. & after,

the washing. Used to think just one out of three, like when we guessed who it’d be

at the sleepover. You say you don’t like to think about it. Whatever

I swallowed he kept refilling. The bridge cannot be uncrossed.

Whenever I see Camel-100’s, a green glass bottle. I don’t even know you.

But who’s made to apologize? I nearly forget the ache due to its permanence. Waiting

for the train, again. What I won’t name my baby. I can only draw circles.

If I am in front of you on the stairs. It happened when I wasn’t there. Even if

they only touched me or didn’t even, just called me something sharp. If it was only

my body, if the rest of me went somewhere by tunnel. I ask to stop remembering. This

needs to be shorter. A song looped. I stop counting. Absence representing a presence

is shocking & expected. There was a fall I didn’t leave my room. I am running

from it toward what? Everyone imaginable under the same light. In an attempt

to make you understand the problem.



Elegy with a Line from Mary Jo Bang


My mother’s feet are in the sand

when somehow a leaf stops by,

even though there are no near trees.

Here memory makes you unchangeable.

You, pictured tall with dark hair

under your Dodgers cap, listening to a secret

bent over a sizzling cast-iron skillet

or nudging laughter from the corner.

I haven’t written (about) you in so long.

Thought I got it all out. & still I miss you


today as I read elegy after elegy while

traveling to Kansas City

to attend someone else’s funeral

where I catch afternoon light pressed

through colored glass. I think of the blue

windows in the room where we spoke of you,

how I was a dumb child wearing orange.

I can’t believe no one told me No.


After the service we walk a labyrinth

marked with plastic forks, your ashes

pressed to my mother’s breasts

as if you too are walking. No more

chair with its buttons & functions,

all your limbs working & busy with work.

Unchangeable you. The leaf

that falls on her shoulder as she exits

the maze is what memory makes.




Anna Meister

Anna Meister is author of the chapbook NOTHING GRANTED (dancing girl press, 2016) & holds an MFA in poetry from New York University, where she was a Goldwater Writing Fellow. Her poems have been published in publications such as Kenyon Review, Big Lucks, Tinderbox, & The Shallow Ends, & was a finalist for the 2017 National Poetry Series. She lives in Des Moines, IA & at