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Megan Burns

By December 15th, 2020No Comments


in life’s ride, i mean riddle
say what you mean, girl
it’s a trick: We think words
hold parts of what we are

i travel slick barriers
i think the poem is a deliberate
not seeing clearly

[he sd: you don’t like pictures with people]

or else life itself blurry, in the line
held by the edges, detailed
image, you fence it or else perched metal balance
the hoofing you get here: it takes your breath away

there isn’t any humble to betting
i could make my way out of the maze
i had to believe i knew why i was here
if it try to make the poem speak for me
i fail                        do you know what a doll is
it’s a container, a mask you can trust
empty nothing of what i have skirted
calling it life, i am its particles, its design
it is quiet              to love an object is safe

the word that defines my childhood
is neglect, a silence weighted inside me.
i take the toy and put it into focus.
this must be what care is.
in that danger of what another
withholds, i can’t find anything
i like.

the poem says, here is the safety
of everything: the horse harbors innocence.
you will find it scavenged in places
that bend wood, the metal scooped
like angel wings           inside a frame, a fraction
of us spooling out into how we translate. the poem
pretends to speak but is actually listening.

the truth of how i feel about us has never
changed. we just haven’t reached the part
of the story where you can hear me.
i don’t ever know who in this
life wants to hear it. i write thousands
of lines, and it’s never sharp. i return
thinking: this time. this time, i will not be ridden
down, this time i will be able to steer it right.


Photo credit: Todd White
IG: @hollarrr





Megan Burns is the publisher at Trembling Pillow Press ( She is the co-director of the New Orleans Poetry Festival ( and has been hosting the Blood Jet Poetry Reading Series in New Orleans for the last six years. She has three books Memorial + Sight Lines (2008), Sound and Basin (2013) and Commitment (2015) published by Lavender Ink. Her fourth collection, BASIC PROGRAMMING, was published by Lavender Ink in 2018. Her forthcoming collection is called PLURALITY.