Megan Denton

Sonnet for the House We Bought

The aunties and uncles want to know what happened. The grandparents, too.
Should I start with the shotgun hole in the bedroom wall
or with the streetlight shining through it, like a moon?
To leave this out would be a lie, of course. Yet, I was made to rehearse
other reasons, something like—just say we grew apart, that you would be
a bad mother, that I don’t want to take care of you anymore,
that you overreacted, it was just birdshot.
Say, this time,
we tell the truth. How very early the next morning the ladder appeared
and the street-visible hole, say, the size of an apple, was mended
and sanded and painted the right shade of blue. The inside exploded bits,
still visible, left on display, for months. At first, the washrag stuffed into it
was fine. At first I helped hide it from visitors. In a haha oopsy way. At first
I was promised a rickety greenhouse for all my seeds. At first,
the smell of gunpowder, then a rusty needle to sew me shut.



Hymn for Long Covid

Nearly two years together: me and my un-tasting
tongue. Having stayed alive the first few months
on spoonfuls of peanut butter, I thought to myself

I must find a way to bless this.

It is now a sacred act: circling the living room
with my bowl of berries—as this is my want
and my domain. Bless my broken tongue. Bless

the wire in my brain that translates peach
into teriyaki. Bless wasabi and watermelon
and sunflower seeds. Praise the ditch I am in

and the paradise I have made out of it.
There will be a sizzle and a burn. It cannot be
otherwise. Praise the invisible phone booth

of the mind. Praise the altar at the kitchen stove
I may never come to know. Praise the cerebral attic
and all my goblets going to the laundry. Bless

the pitch-dark womb I will emerge from and bless
my sickbed, my sick years. May I rise like a phoenix
and finally realize how it feels to consume.



Megan Denton is the author of Mustard, Milk, and Gin (Hub City Press, 2020) and the 2019 New Southern Voices Poetry Prize winner. She received her MFA from Purdue University in 2018. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in POETRY, The Adroit Journal, Sixth Finch, Passages North, and elsewhere.