The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Meg Day’s “Last Psalm at Sea Level”


On Nights When We are Two Horses Racing Toward
the Edge of a Cliff, or Another Lesbian Was Stabbed
Last Night on State Street

If I get there before you, don’t look. Don’t jump. Turn
your back to my afterimage,
                                         as you have on each shared
morning when my bones tire of being bones & instead drag
this swan song from bed into sidewalk trot or hallway pace in hopes
of becoming something else,
                                        & go. Trust that mirage
will resolve itself in the predawn blur or the weight of a body
on the mattress behind you.
                                         For the falling, yes, there is always panic.
Or calm. Even as my chest fills with a strange new air, don’t think
of the way hooves become powerless against gravity, pawing for earth.
Don’t ask what it means to be
                                        a creature built for disassemblage.
Lover, there are so many things I forgot to tell you: I was the one
who bedded the tulip bulbs
                                        despite the frost; it was the year
you taught the succulents to surrender, finally, to overwatering.
I planted my promise like a pit beneath your flank, curling hard
& growing quick like cowlicks
                                        behind my ears. Think of me
when you are unbuttoning your blouse & the darkness starts to spin;
turn the pages until you find
                                        where I abandoned the foxgloves—
pressed & bleeding—between haven & hazard. Beloved, grow that stone
fruit whole. If it’s true that in Hebrew the word for awe & terror
is the same, give her a name
                                        that means Amen. Build her
a stable from the wood of your womb, just as your galloping
approaches the city’s uncertain
                                        rim. Beloved, we are decoys
of wither & loin, sorrel & speed.When they try to tell you
I never happened, believe them. Let the surprise of us be even
better the second time.


This selection comes from Meg Day’s collection Last Psalm at Sea Level, available from Barrow Street. Purchase your copy here!

Meg Day is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a 2013 recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street 2014). Meg earned her PhD in Poetry & Disability Poetics at the University of Utah and will join the faculty at Franklin & Marshall College this fall.

A recipient of a 2015 NEA Fellowship for poetry, grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Kentucky Foundation for Women, Staci R. Schoenfeld’s poems appear in or are forthcoming from Washington Square, Mid-American Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Muzzle, and Southern Humanities Review, among others. She is a PhD student at the University of South Dakota.

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