Rumpus Original Poetry: Two Poems by Anna Meister






Perhaps I have turned a corner. Even
with these days so pollen-thick. Boy
is a sundial on the floor, busies himself
by placing small bowls inside bigger small bowls,
sometimes lets me pee alone. I recharge
by lying alongside him in the dark. He doesn’t
need us to be touching so I grow
new skin. My mind my own, I think
of peonies, chia pudding, windowsill citrine.
When my wife returns & gathers
her hair in the clip teeth, I find
I want to kiss her neck. Later we meet
to tangle in the yellow chair. Needs
met urgent & gentle. Boy sprawls in sleep.
I feel wise for some reason.



My people know it’s again gone dark
as I am silent across the table
smearing mustard on my eggs.

The diner hum of silverware & sizzle
fills the space, lulls the baby

to the deep quiet he holds
within. I can find no words,
staring at foreheads, blinking through

a sweeping neon blur of tears.
When it’s all too much I am thankful

to be holding my boy, able to steal a glance,
focus in on him buckled into me.
Count his eyelashes, stroke his hand. Here

is a moment I am mindful, practice
victory over future dread. Later I am convinced

if I leave the house I’ll die.
Paranoia or premonition? I tell you
I’m sorry over & over until you say Shut up

all gentle-like & the only thing
my mind can hold is that you will take care of me.

Wade with me through this gunk
because you have before. Palm stone,
feather, plastic hospital cup with the long straw.

Snow falls while I clutch him while you
clutch me, undoing all my knots. What

is the point of building something only
to want to walk away? Meaning,
why am I like this? How many times

can I trace the circle of myself
& end up nowhere new?


Photograph of Anna Meister by Anna Meister.

Anna Meister is author of two chapbooks, most recently As if (Glass Poetry Press, 2018). Her debut full-length collection, What Nothing, will be out from Sundress Publications in 2021. Meister earned an MFA in poetry from New York University, where she served as a Goldwater Writing Fellow. Her poems have appeared in BOAAT, Redivider, Kenyon Review, The Shallow Ends, and elsewhere. She lives in Des Moines, IA with her wife and son. More from this author →