Ars Poetica: Resuscitation “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin I. The door is iron, old, too heavy. We have chicken for dinner, rip flesh from bone. I am asked if I want a Coke. I decline, get one anyway. Somewhere there is strawberry cheesecake. We don’t work on his English essay. Afterward, Dad comes to get me. Dad takes me home from this friend’s house. I’m fifteen. I let the night sky engulf me. I know I’m afraid of touch. I don’t tell Dad I’ve been raped. I’m not sure. II. I’m obsessed with writers’ names Frost Plath Sexton Whitman Eliot Woolf I haven’t read them yet Frost Plath Sexton Whitman Eliot Woolf Their names rescue me, on repeat in my head Frost Plath Sexton Whitman Eliot Woolf while he tears me. Frost Plath Sexton Whitman Eliot Woolf I burn. He unbuttons my jeans, his knuckles too hard, too hot against my belly. A nauseous knot forms when air, then his hand, hits my hipbone. I shut my eyes, hold my breath, shake my head side to side, protest. This fire is a fight I cannot win. It will all be over soon. It will all be over soon. He moves me. I open my eyes enough to see the blossomed tree through the window, too early in February. I watch the wind blow the leaves outside, hear him tell me, Everything is okay. You want this. Everything is okay. You want this. You want this. Blood bubbles out of me in the bathroom— no, I didn’t want this. I run hot water on my hands. I don’t want any of this. At the top of the staircase, I compose myself. I call Dad, careful. I wait in the dark square space. I count the fifteen descending steps until Dad arrives. I don’t tell him. I don’t tell.
Fishing The rising silver sun simplifies time as I watch a widowed wave hike across a middle-of-nowhere pond. The fishing line sways in the slow breeze. I hold my blue Shakespeare rod in front, antenna-like. The orange bobber floats out as far as my arm can throw. I stand in wait, and sometimes crouch when my legs tire. I wish for the chair I left back at the truck. The bobber goes down quick, close to the bank. I reel with adrenaline, then pull up to jam a hook through fish flesh. I catch and release largemouth bass and perch, I baited with minnows. Fishing, I wake up slow with chirping crickets. The bullfrog’s echo bounces off the trees, teaches my voice how shouts into stillness will ripple.
Megan Munger is a Kansas poet. She received her M.A. and B.S.Ed. in English from Pittsburg State University, and she currently resides in Junction City, KS, where she teaches English at Junction City High School. This is amongst her first national publications.
Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review. Harbor Review’s chapbook prize is named in her honor. She expects her next collection, The Book of Stolen Images (Meadowlark) to be out in a few months.