I Can’t Mend the World Without My Sadness
Rabbits frenzy amid the strawberries, scatter
their wild griefs. There, above the clover,
moths quiver in velvet capes. My children stare
out the window, watch the god of lightning
shatter the day’s good work: the mighty ant hill,
the bird nest town atop the trees, chorus of four-nerve
daisies in the weeds. I understand the world’s
need to rear and wreck, its loop of bounty and ruin.
I have loads of yarn, at least three good glue guns,
and enough tape to rearrange the stars so they spell
MERCY. I have my sadness, and I have my children.
What more can I promise them? The leaves, the rain-
heavy ant, every godforsaken rock. What more
except that I’ll walk through the rubble afterward
with needle and thread and stitch up the tender
rabbit, the mangled worm, that I’ll try my best
to glue together each nest strewn from the storm.
When, at the end of the week, one child’s body
is ribboned with fever and the other’s is sleepless
unless cocooned under my breast, I say enough.
I say enough, and when my husband asks enough
of what, I make a list in my head. An endless list
of enoughs: the cycle of uncurable colds plaguing
our house, the dog’s piss spots on the carpet, another day
where I’m lost in my body, when my name isn’t Megan but
Mom or Mommy. What’s more repetitive than the wail
of a newborn, the tantrums of a human becoming more
human? Love maybe? Grief? Isn’t that the crux
of motherhood—the knot of loving and grieving
and loving and grieving all the selves lived and unlived?
Of course, I’m nowhere close to having an answer for him
when the babe nods off, milk driveling into the cushion
of her neck. O, god, some days I think I’ve made the biggest
mistake bringing children here. Here where I save up
my sadness, stash it under mattresses and in sock drawers.
Here where I moonlight as someone else entirely, where
given the chance, I’d hop the train that roars through
my mind each night without looking back.
Megan Peak received her M.F.A. in Poetry from The Ohio State University, where she was former Poetry Editor at The Journal. Her first book of poetry, Girldom, won the 2018 Perugia Press Prize from Perugia Press and 2019 The John A. Robertson Award for Best First Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters. Her work has been published in Gulf Coast, Ploughshares, Blackbird, Verse Daily, and more. She lives in Fort Worth, TX with her husband and two children.