I am always trying to have polite conversation
with my own guilt: rose tea with juniper berry.
Bitterness abrades a delicate thing. Blundering
old bully. Marmoreal hypocrite. I am unrelenting
even in the presence of my strong little girls. Oh,
you skinned knees of the world, I promise you—
who climb any tree at all, delighted by capability—
I want to be kind when exposed. I knock back
my potential for invisibility. Any day now
I will be bridled in a stampede, pressed close
by the bison as they abandon the valley. I will go along:
I am always looking to be deconsecrated by nature.
Nobody wishes for boredom, debt. I begin to suspect
there is no appropriate ointment. To taste
a little of a poison thing is to reflect. Put down
the Tiger Balm. I will give up my perfect height.
Meghan Maguire Dahn grew up in the middle of the woods, alongside fisher cats and deer, beavers and coyotes, and a whole unintended aviary. Her first poem was published in Highlights Magazine and read primarily in waiting rooms by children nervous about getting shots or stitches. Her work has also appeared or is forthcoming from Boston Review, the Cincinnati Review, the Boog City Reader, Blunderbuss, The Journal, Poetry Northwest, Phantom Limb, the Long River Review, the Beloit Poetry Journal, Cartographer, and ellipsis…a journal of art and culture. She was a winner of the 2014 Discovery/92nd Street Y Poetry Prize (judges: Eduardo Corral, Rosanna Warren, Susan Mitchell, and John Ashbery). She has an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She lives steps away from Manhattan’s only forest.Photo by Nova