Megan Burns

3 Poems

I Take Love

a fragment and a whole is at once each song
within which a single word, I take love to be
a hole
attacks sexuality, the principle means and subject
Myth creates not love but schematized narratives
linear imprisonments
glittering pendant
“I was never a poet,” she said (Loy)
erect and comic penises, the tedium of fellatio
“everything the Buddha had come to at the depth of His enlightenment”

Bellini’s virgin looks away as if the Son has already
been sacrificed
both belonging to the Father

“we/ do not need to know/ anybody’s name/ to love them” (Blackburn)
to stand onstage in that nervousness

disappointment, which builds the walls inside us, creeps in
and sits flooding the heart
lies wrapped in silk between the pages of ‘Adonais’
the heart failing to burn snatched out onto the sand
a desperate immolation
each song is at once a fragment and a whole
a hole
a single word, within which

under the boat
I think you made a masterpiece
called the little room

The Little Room
after Walter Anderson

if every corner holds a thousand lifetimes and in this one
my hand lay like an anchor, if ever there were stars
I saw were stars before I knew them
and what we called, all names, and then you think of beauty
but I’ve a little mind to keep on looking as if hard enough
and then I found it and I’ve an ache
that fits inside a smaller space
so you can see
how those 3 colors would infect me, it's almost the shape
of a door I'll never get through, a light so real
you'll feel it turning
and then I see like you before me and even our hands
are not resembling one another's so how can I
know anything by touch
I find a way, my eyes do focus, and if it's clear here
I'll hide it in my mind they'll say you called
we knew that they were stars before we saw them
the light that spilled around the door
where you have buttoned down your skin
we walk in and back into a room
to keep on looking a little door
with you behind there who would answer
and if we knew the word to speak a language that could reach you
we break in, the left window pane of plastic
carries around my face from where I'm stealing
have found that walls come to each other and then another
until surrounded, I try the door, let light escape out
that's when I realize and then I follow before I know you
they say that stars are stars before we see them
and not by the time their light has reached us
I watch the life I thief like a hand that holds me
and caught we dance dead stars a day for dreaming
my mind says yes and goes without me

Three Black Stones

slipped into the water
without a sound
three pairs of arms, legs, hands
and little feet
and eyes turned up to face
the face that dropped them
'they are so hungry, the sharks, they
are so hungry and I'm gonna feed them.'
sweet flesh of my flesh
bone sewn into bone deep
in the hemisphere of the womb

the youngest, a baby bird
the toddler, wriggling naked, swells with a surge of love
trusts all the way down
that mother will be coming after
and soon now
the six year old trembles beneath the moon's gaze
pinned by fear beneath alien eyes
an inner voice cautions, run from her, and yet
the child allows her arms to carry the long limbed body
out over the railing of the bridge
over the endless black bay, and still wonders
when they will go home
while following each earnest sibling backwards
out of this world

and there, on the bridge, what sound
issued from the mother's stony face
what longed for vacuum filled her long embrace

Megan Burns has been published in the New Laurel Review, Exquisite Corpse, YAWP Journal, and Wild Strawberries. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2004 by Slipstream Magazine. In 2004, she created and performed The Frida Show, a multimedia poetry play about the life of Frida Kahlo. Her chapbook, "Hago la Forma/ I am the poem" (Trembling Pillow Press, 2004) features selections from the play. She lives in New Orleans where she and her husband poet Dave Brinks run the 17 Poets! Reading series (