I C a r r y A r o u n d I n s i d e M e a R e a l l y N i c e L i t t l e P l a c e
Edith, pick a hand.
In one there is a lock Of my tear-soaked hair. In the other, A ship-building kit, complete With two miniature coins For your eyes. No hands Needed For assembly.
Did you know every person’s heart Should fit perfectly In the palm of their own hand?
My regrets Are the size of housecats Plopped down on the sill.
You gnawed through Your own crown. I came home From the farmer’s market To straw and baby’s breath All over the ground. Loss,
The palmweight Of a beefsteak Tomato. My regrets Rub their heads Against my calves
As I wash the dishes, As if nothing’s changed. But my heart A shelled Pistachio, no bigger Than yours.
With the extra space I carry around inside me A really nice little place. A backyard with a trampoline, Lemon trees, waxed paper boats In the koi pond. No regrets
On the countertops, Drinking from The soaking pan.
T e n d e r t h e W i n g
Some people say that shyness is the body As a prison. The mouth a trapdoor That only opens from the outside. One night When I was nineteen I found a bottle of white wine
In the snow. As if a crimson ribbon were tied around it-- Unquestionably a gift from the fates. I felt their eyes On my hood, felt them wringing glorydust from their hands In anticipation. I talked to him
At a party, as everyone else grew dull and fuzzy. A new life opened its slippery mouth To suckle. The old, tired life With its milk full of tiny diamonds. Top-shelf snow.
He asked me to sleep in his bed. When I woke The back of my hand was rippled with blisters. I’d fallen asleep with my arm propped against the radiator. He brought me a cup of snow from the yard.
The old story: if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water It will jump right out. But if you gradually Increase the heat, the frog will sit there, croaking for a mate, Unaware that life is getting a little smaller every second.
Eventually it can’t get any smaller. When I was a kid I thought this was a story about the inferiority Of frogs. Now I know it’s a story about lust. Some people say, Where would we be without trust?
I’d have withered away by now. Without even mass enough to make a proper hauntress: Imagine bones so dainty you could clean your Fingernails, or use them to pick your teeth.
Think about a heart fitted on the head of a pin. His crocodilian smile made me fall to the ground In a fit of bravery. It’s not like I wasn’t afraid. The days took on a holographic shimmer, like the world
Was all decked-out in fish scales. I all but forgot How strong the jaw, how tender the wing. It’s not like he could go without eating. Some people call this trust. Some people say Herodotus
Made it up. Does he remember the days When I used to fit inside his mouth? I perched On his molars, pecked at the rotting meat Between his teeth. We didn’t have a name for it
Then, the act of trusting out of necessity. It’s not like I could go without eating.
Meg Freitag was born in Maine and currently lives in Austin, TX. She holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.F.A. from UT Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow and a finalist for the 2015 Keene Prize for Literature. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Boston Review, Indiana Review, and Narrative, among others.