two poems by megan kemple
Thanks for the Christmas Present
I’ve always preferred thunderstorms to sunny days,
Rain on rusted tin roofs, steady as my Mother’s tears,
pinging the side of an A-frame like
daddy’s military grade bullets rolling into each other,
Thunder cracking like the shattered glass in the French Doors,
Booming and unpredictable as my father’s voice mixing with
the splintering wood in my bedroom door when he kicked it in,
chased by the flashes of my mother’s camera,
perfect family photos only slightly off,
“Smile, girls, show the world he still loves us”,
Lightning is always gone before you catch it…
but this is the Home I know.
The silence on a sunny day, when the wind is no longer blowing,
And by all accounts you should be fine,
But “fine” means pins and needles, “fine” means he’s still not here, “fine” means paint it white
put on a good face; make your eyes into butterflies,
use the blood from your wrists to make your cheeks into roses, lips into cherries.
Find the football captain, the male lead, the drug dealer,
Afterwards, tie your hair up with the abandoned yellow ribbon,
And get out there and shine,
Someone has to keep the sun in the sky…
the silence when the effort of keeping the world spinning leaves no breath for speaking,
that silence is how people die.
So, I prefer my days cloudy, my lovers stormy,
I find them more honest that way.
The sun is always most beautiful in your mind’s eye,
unadulterated light, unfiltered through sadness, burns the eyes,
Blinds you to the coming storm,
I can endure the brevity of Lightning, his Thunder is only threat,
my skin is used to soaking up the never-ending Rain,
but the dull ache of this sunny silence scares me.
Secrets, like marbles, heavy on the tongue,
taking up space, hidden underneath,
perched between cheek and crown,
pushing agaist clenched back teeth.
I keep my mouth closed lest I drop one
between sips of Chardonnay and pretending to eat.
To him, I’m just a great listener;
my charming questions are flawless deflections,
to him it still feels like connection.
He doesn’t feel me holding back,
doesn’t see me combing desperately through his past for a darkness I recognize,
I only trust people who show me their worst.
He just let his friend put out his cigarette on his arm,
I can’t tell if that’s his summation or antithesis, but
I can tell it turns me on.
Something about a high pain tolerance and an addicted heartbeat
breaks through these steel walls I’ve built around myself.
It’s his fifth night in a row drinking 40’s and
he tries to start a fight as we leave the bar,
to anyone else these read as warning signs, not possibilities.
He doesn’t talk about his demons,
but they are my comfort in the night when he is already asleep.
I don’t know their origins, only their familiar pull on the flesh.
about the author:
Megan Kemple is an actress, playwright, and poet currently drifting through Buffalo, NY. She has a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from Niagara University. Soon, she will be a teaching artist with the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, where she will bring spoken word poetry and devised theatre to kids in rural communities.
Lovely work by a lovely poet. Thank you for publishing Megan’s work. Cheers!