Anna Meister




What I took once made summer for sleeping.
I asked for more pressure, numb to the touch.
Body as if rented out. Past attempts
unsuccessful; oh you, please balance me.
Dial turned up now, fuzzed near the edges.
Near dumb with it, but I’ve yet to cry. Slow
climb up from sudden sink. Let’s raise a glass
to the end of wanting nothing but ends!
For this I need you. Fear: when I’m ready
to get pregnant you’ll have to taper off
these pills, says Dr. Jill, make it harder.
She makes a hand motion to represent
struggle. I dream of a morning nothing’s
needed & swallowed in order to rise.



as of yet

for Linda


Forget I brought it up
is the first text read
& I can’t help then but scroll
through to the past,
as when you wore the name
Destructa, went after the 90’s
big screen TV, the boys’
stupid Salvo find, one Friday
night with a dull knife, cutting
through the aperture grille.
Glowing strips of light & plastic
fanned out at our feet & soon
became a part of all the art.
A fact: too much honey whiskey
will always make you kiss someone   
with a girlfriend. Are you less
embarrassed this detail lives
in my poem if what follows is
& you feel bad about it later?
A surge, a quick-slammed door.
What you described as needing
to be pulled away. When you said
didn’t work, doesn’t, meaning
their love, I listened, remembering
the certain hook of a man.
This was long before Italy
& its truck-hitched wagons,
the small farm you left
New York for, your body
surrounded by barrels filled with onions
that seemed to never end. You spoke of sorting
bulbs for hours, searching for spoil,
said it gave you ideas again
for how bodies could move & be
shot after months of nothing
& the fear starvation ate
your filmic eye. I love
how a good shadow fills
your eyes with tears.
When I hear your name,
which means beautiful, which you are,
I think of the boxed chocolate
meringue brand called Joy! & opening
a handmade card, its collaged cover
photos of mountains (gray triangles)
cut & pasted from magazines, to find
pressed petals in my lap. Violets
& something pink I don’t know.
You once mentioned womanhood
as a structured absence of light
except for the moon
while splicing moments & turning
the reel. Or maybe your hands
in the dirt. Anyway,
I thought Yes! to that
& felt similarly as the time when,
beyond stoned, we ate Godiva
ice cream pops with our feet
in Ethan’s parents’ pool.
My growing buzz-cut resembled pine
needles & the wildness of your curls
still reached far down your back.
That was my second favorite day.





Is there anything worse than sending someone a text
that reads Missing you!!! & never getting a response?
Not today. But tomorrow I’ll answer insufficient
funds / quick transfer yelling at the river. Once
there was a migraine that lasted all summer, an end
reached slow as steel cut oats or the coiled drive
to Ashfield. You weren’t there for that, he said
with flecks of pepper in his teeth I watched so closely,
& behind his head a boxy blueness peppered with boats.
Left-handed scrawl a glimmer of something. Say
the weather is insane one more time. Sometimes he was
a key hidden in barn rafters. Sometimes moments are
gestural. I drink wine but can’t taste it. I dream of wolves
or staying taller than what grows in the field.




the person i knew
i thought
the person on my couch now
having moved back from san francisco
doesn’t remember what happened
cannot but i cannot stop
thinking of it
what i just heard
picturing him cruel
coils sharp and strange in me
doesn’t sit right
of course
a bad decision is worn
worn out
i can never remove
all tenderness
from my seeing
even though i know
there was a night i had to keep
saying no
had to
really stick to it
but the person did
listen as dark dissolved
and so now my trouble
imagining refusal
again and again
gone unheard
but maybe
she wasn’t even awake

Anna Meister is author of the chapbook NOTHING GRANTED (forthcoming, dancing girl press) & holds an MFA in poetry from NYU. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, DIAGRAM, Luna Luna, The Offing, & elsewhere. A recipient of residencies/fellowships from the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts & NYU, Anna lives in Des Moines, IA & at