My sister comes home
smelling of dirt she was buried in.
Of pushing up dandelions.
We wash her arms,
scrub her fingernails
with stinging soap.
When she finally speaks,
it’s hand me that trowel
and I’ll bury the seeds,
and our grandmother
paces the attic.
Will I wake anywhere
besides this house,
or love anyone ever
besides my sister
with the skinned knees?
I wake again in the garden
crushing stems against my teeth.
The Oceany Sound of the Heart
She was not feeling completely bruised, so
she decided to take a walk. The dead grass
and bare trees. Or maybe it was simple hunger, or lack
of faces. She dialed a number, no one was home.
She thought about hills. She decided
to eat. Was this loneliness? Sometimes,
before, she’d go to her ex-girlfriend’s house and it
would still be there, so she’d whine or make
dinner or they’d have sex. Sometimes it intensified
at evening and they’d go out. A blue drink
and plenty of sushi later, it would dry to the size
of a puddle. Unless they fought—then it grew,
went desperate. Why didn’t she leave?
Well, the bare streets and the leafless trees. But she
had this body next to her. She could hear blood
carrying thoughts through the body. Circling
the lungs. Oceany. She’d put her ear
against it and feel like she was found.
Megan Alpert's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Green Mountains Review, Denver Quarterly, Harvard Review, and Sixth Finch; her nonfiction has been published in The Guardian, Guernica Daily, and Foreign Policy. A graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars, she is the winner of an Orlando Poetry Prize and a fellowship-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center.