The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Animal At Your Side by Megan Alpert


On the path behind the house, we found the teeth,
but no sign of the corresponding jaw—

whatever had been forced down to earth
had been knocked or dragged elsewhere.

My aunt rattled the teeth
in her cupped palm. Sunlight dropped

a dryness in my mouth—
she was not the kind to tell the truth.

A woman, she said, the teeth
were small, like from a woman’s mouth,

and she knelt, pulled down to earth,
her fingers nosed the dirt for further proof.

(My aunt’s little rented piece of earth,
a house to make her crazy paintings in.)

They weren’t animal teeth. I ran my tongue
along the blank spots in my mouth.

She’d try them in her own mouth
at parties, she told me later, cradling my jaw,

Little one, we rent ourselves from earth.

This selection comes from The Animal at Your Side, available from Airlie Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Megan Alpert grew up in the suburbs of New York City and has since lived in St. Paul, Seattle, Boston, Washington, DC, and Quito, Ecuador. She is the recipient of an Orlando Poetry Prize from A Room of Her Own Foundation and residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Studios at MASS MoCA, and the Marquette Chamber Residency. As a journalist, Alpert has received fellowships from Foreign Policy and the International Women’s Media Foundation. She has worked as a sandwich maker, bookseller, child caregiver, ESL teacher, journalist, and editor.

Shannon Wolf is a British writer and teacher, living in Louisiana. She is currently a joint MA-MFA candidate in Poetry at McNeese State University. She is the Non-Fiction Editor of The McNeese Review, and Social Media Intern for Sundress Publications. She also holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction (which can also be found under the name Shannon Bushby) have appeared in The Forge and Great Weather for Media, among others. You can find her on social media @helloshanwolf.


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