Back to Issue Twenty-Two.

portrait of mother as gone



Will her ghost crave what she craves? My liquor bottles               rattling
like wind chimes. The medicine cabinet                                  unlatching
all by itself. My hauntings are manageable                     shapes,
in the form of small white pills. Each one           placed on the tongue
is a communion and she is still here. Eyes                         thrown to the back of
the head like dice into an alley.                                       Her name
fingered in cursive on the bathroom mirror.               I am
taking bets, confessing her memory into                      the hum of a dial tone,
collecting dues paid with grief.                                                    I am
lost without the lullaby of her constant want:                      an addict
to point me north. This is a part of it                                      too. I understand
the process of coaxing a life away from itself.            The careful surgery
of removing a sallow mind. What does the stinging                 of
morning feel like without the slow tragedy of                              looking
asking to bring the night back? What now? Give me days,             just
days and days of nothing but static. Give me empty promises            like
flowers rotting in a vase on my vanity until they smell like                     her–
a body that’s given up on being a body. Give me something I know.


Meghann Plunkett is a poet, coder, and lover of dogs. She is the winner of the 2017 Third Coast Poetry Prize, and a finalist for the North American Review’s 2017 Hearst Poetry Prize and Narrative Magazine‘s 2016 30 Below Contest. Meghann has been recognized by the Academy of American Poets in both 2016 and 2017. Her poems can be found in or are forthcoming from Narrative MagazineNorth American ReviewAdroit Journal, The Paris-American, Muzzle Magazine, Winter Tangerine, decomP Magazine, and storySouth, among others. Her essays, erasures and animated poems can be found in Luna Luna Magazine. She is the writer in residence at Omega Institution and the director of the Black Dog Tall Ship Writing Retreat on Martha’s Vineyard, MA. Visit her at

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