Issue #3 // INSIDE VOICE // Anna Meister

Cry on the wine-stained couch, cat claw
& tooth torn. Your face salted as a state road
after an ice storm. Skin like paper held

to light. You stay so quiet, so white, almost
invisible. Statue-still in church services & dark
hallways, you have practiced, wished yourself

this, girl. No one sees you on the bus. Your eyes
fix on blurred buildings & red cars. Gasoline’s sour
stench lingers in your nostrils. All the others laugh

like marbles clinking in a glass jar. They whisper
about the boys with straight teeth & swimming
pools, freshly ironed pastel shirts & khaki pants.

They smell like the mall. Libby smacks her glossy lips,
claims she frenched Ian in the janitor’s closet
after lunch yesterday. Think of why you love

Ian: his blond hair is messy with purpose,
his family name is etched in his tennis racket,
his mother’s windshield has no cracks. Dream

you are wearing something collared
& drinking bubbly liquids from thin flutes
at his country club. Dream it so good you forget

how no one knows you, girl. A ghost
on the bathroom floor now, all bone. Cry
about what you will never find, what will slip away

like a slick young frog. Eat saltine crackers
slow. Hoarsely, repeat Ian’s name until it sounds
like a word you do not know.


Anna Meister is an MFA candidate in Poetry at NYU, where she serves as a Goldwater Writing Fellow. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Sundog Lit, Souvenir, Whiskey Island, & elsewhere. Anna is a 2015 Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts fellow & lives in Brooklyn.


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