Megan Alpert

One Must Go
by Megan Alpert

My sister went out to sea while I stayed
at home with the dog—the animal warmth of him
solids my hands; he smells of kippers, wet branches, my

sister’s body bloody after battle, heaving
on the floor of the ship. I never came to anyone in dreams.
I have one sword leaned against the wall, my sister’s,

knocked over repeatedly by the dog. He wheels
and gruffs like when they came to collect her,
four of them, the dead army sound of their knock

shaking the frame. The kettle cracked. One,
they said. And my sister’s eyes took shape
as they pointed past me. She stomped, floor shaking,

out the door. A year later, she was queen. The next
she lost a hand, the next an eye. She appeared
to men in dreams, menstrual, huge, to draw them out

further, their ships wracked to splinters, my sister
knocked, shaking, out further than I ever—
windows suck ash against their railings, and I
am on the kitchen floor, my animal hand alive in the dog’s fur.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 3.

Megan AlpertMegan Alpert’s first collection The Animal at Your Side won the Airlie Prize and will be published in 2020. Her work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Cincinnati Review, Denver Quarterly, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Glass: Poets Resist. She is an Orlando Poetry Prize winner and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series. As a journalist, she has reported for The Atlantic, The Guardian, Smithsonian, and Foreign Policy.

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