suburban girl requiem
BY MEGAN PEAK
No girl-tongue in the mouth. No street of magnolias.
Domed white. No father ambling around the cul-de-sac, no.
Circles. No decoupage planets, neon stars named for the birth year.
Year of the snake, snake, snake. No mirror with a mother.
Brushing off a daughter’s pretty bones. No confessions.
Like bright jewelry on throats. No name but litany.
Suburban and chilled.
Build me a paper shrine.
I was a girl before I was anything else. My name means daughter.
Means loyal. I can be a secret. I can be a twig-woman in the grass.
Small in a man’s yard. But there’s no air under the magnolia.
No name for the dark inside a tree.
elegy with a river inside it
BY MEGAN PEAK
The sky is half-wrecked, the sun a bright pothole
dipping into the Guadalupe. A porcupine quill hangs
from my lips, still smoking as my fingertips cut
through the water. The banks are overgrown
with bearded cypress and mesquite. A boy slaps
his guitar, plays simple songs, hands callused
from switching chords. I am the girl I never dreamed of
being—the girl sitting in the lap of a shaggy-haired
boy with fingers like wheat, long and sleek. I think
it’s childish the way we sneak out at night, start a fire
somewhere, smoke and drink around it like old men.
But I am a child—one who believes that I should give
in to the bed like a girl in love. It hurts and I feel
nothing except pressure, no pleasure in the boy
heavy on my chest. The bonfire dwindles. I curl
up under the sheets and try to sleep. I dream
of my mother, who tells me to head home, tells me
I’ll survive this like every girl that’s come before.