Williams

Denomination

Most days I fail to meditate long enough, nose burns
with the breeze of counted breath.  Out the window, birds sing
as squirrels eat their food & flowers bloom. I don’t know any of their names,

but the mug you stole me is still called “Betty,” painted gothic
above blue blossoms. We should name ourselves
the Bombshelters if we cave to marriage the way I caved to freezer pizza

this breakfast. 7 a.m. Second pot of coffee. Wish we were camping
in the May snow at Payette Forest; wish your car were stuck in mud with us
on the backseat. Wish we could contemplate Jesus, neo-hobos, universal love—

Back in New York, I contemplate love by buying lingerie
with you in mind.  What spiritual practice would look like enough
when more sex shops than churches stand on this block?

Most Sundays, I pass the back-seamed stockings & vibrators erect in windows
after tasting different denominations—none as Eucharistic as your mouth.

Supposing Things Were Different

You wouldn’t have applied mascara accidentally              to your cornea. You wouldn’t have pretended
 to sleep. You would have eaten                chicken & waffles            that morning with our father.

You would have let him see you with make-up on.

You would have painted the peculiar purple face only you saw. You would have painted         the silence
at your exit, lack                of goodbye & hours that passed

before you looked for the body.                You would have painted him helping the neighbors.

The cat wouldn’t have looked out the door,          ajar, the same as before
you left to go shopping.                The London broil would have been

broiled. You would have seen more           than his legs           behind the shed.
You would have grabbed more than model trains              when the coroner came. You wouldn’t have changed

into your new bra. You wouldn’t have washed                  his clothes. You would have worn his
baseball cap slightly           off your head.

You would have eaten the dill pickle potato chips            for weeks.

The bed would remain                   unmade, tools          stiff in his hands.

Megan Williams writes poetry in Boise, Idaho where she currently creates a cradle for her manuscript-and-a-chapbook-in-progress as a Writer-in-Residence at the 8th Street Marketplace. She received her  M.F.A. in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College where she was awarded the John B. Santoianni Prize for Excellence in Poetry from The Academy of American Poets. A runner-up for the 2011 “Discovery”/Boston Review poetry contest, Megan’s work has appeared in journals such as Tin HousePANK, Opium, and Mudlark, among others.