Everyone I’ve ever loved has visited a bar
at least twice in their lives. Here, the earth turns
like an empire. Here, the moon carves itself
out of black paper into salt.
What I can say is what I won’t say.
I can tell you of how starfish regrow their arms,
of how phantom limb syndrome
applies to the heart too.
Or how in every bar, I’ve left things
I couldn’t possibly give away.
Something like grief ungrieving itself.
Like how the bottom of a bottle
looks so much like love.
Like how, once, you took me
in a way no one
should ever take anyone.



They say the body rehearses its own death
at least three times a year.
And yet the mind never knows it.
Never realizes the undoing, the way
an aneurysm can bloom slow in the belly
like a tulip. When I say I can get past this,
I mean I don’t think I can.
When you bed me, I practice.
Not the holding of my breath,
but all the ways I can leave you.
Hand to throat, legs into lake.
How I could be faced
with the prospect of your machete
and still open myself to its blade.



Once, my father found a wolf
with its throat closed over the bulbed head
of a bird. White, so pale it shone like phosphorous
in the dark ruby of the mouth.
This is how the madness sets in,
how most of us become doorways.
Once, I saw a man erase a woman.
Stilled her like an artery.
These are the moments
I cannot remember,
but cannot unname:
how I was always inside your throat.
How I was always yours to erase.
In winter, the police call to ask
if pressing charges is a risk
I can afford to take.
Each shutter rattles like a coin.
You could be anywhere by now.



How to say, rehab was not enough.
Another city scrubbed down to blue,
the way a drink could turn into a flood.
Why is it that Noah
could only take so many women?
There is no evidence for such an ark
and still I drink to fill it.


How to say, rehab was too much.
Placebo effect for the body,
room full of women
with too many lost children.
Two dozen great red aspens
standing outside the window,
two dozen nurses
who had never left their own names
in a pool of whiskey.


Cognitive dissonance. The prisoners
at Stanford. The great unveiling
of the person you said you’d be
and the person you really were.
Your hand up my thigh. Take a shot.
Fingers down my mouth. Shot.
Fingers inside me. Shot.
The choke.
Dark crush of hair trailing
down your stomach. Shot. Shot.
I see you in mirrors.
I see you in lakes.


How to say, there is no way
to report a crime
one person refuses to remember.
The first time, you thought I was dead.
Mouth turned to foam, body turned
to rag doll. Bacardi like gold bile.
There is this: I was trying
to forget the way you slid inside
without protection.
Without so much as inquiry.


How to say, this, too, is a crime.
This love for drink. This drink
as a way of forgetting.
Freud’s theories have been debunked–
there is no repression.
But there is this.
The second time, I could have died.
The third. The fourth.
Each time, the drink after the assault.


How to say, given the impending
announcement of a flood,
you’d take your own body
and leave mine to drown.
How to say, you broke me apart inside.
How to say, I am still breaking.

MEGGIE ROYER is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, The Harpoon Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more. She has won national medals for her poetry and a writing portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and was the Macalester Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015 Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize.