Megan Burns


break against


image of my brother’s head blown to bits
way a skull can’t contain what we are
way bones splinter and fragment
like a stone covered in cuneiform
speaks to us across time, how you will save yourself
heart’s seat, indestructible drop
how quickly you flew from us, birded
skull threaded in a womb where I too was threaded
lacuna in a life sentence
and then here too, firstly to step beyond this veil
and hold us as we come along
back & forth: souls
crossing near enough to touch
when you look into that book, can you read
what is written, can you see
last time I saw you
my anger kept me from speaking
I am lost, can you find me
I can’t tell whose grief
there is so much illusion
how can I ever hook you
I did not love you well in this world
my brother I did not know how to love

and I do not know why I can forgive you anything
but I cannot forgive myself





Everything outside body, anything inside body, any thing that traverses a body from inner to outer, breath, void, smell, sense that someone is watching you while you sleep and may touch your ankle, they from beneath bed, it exposed off edge, that there is a wraith, a lost child, and it’s watching you from a corner of a room, and that’s not your baby crying when you hear that crying and I hear that crying, and when you lose your mind, do you know you’ve lost your mind, like that woman who knew her kid was possessed by demons, what do they really put in those drugs, how do you know if you’re really sick, what if scientology is right, there is no mental illness, what would it feel like to snap, is that baby still in a bath, did you remember to take this child out of that car seat, that knot, that’s a tumor, that’s appendicitis, that’s a cyst, that’s an ectopic pregnancy, that’s a muscle they cut that will never heal, what if you hurt yourself or someone else, what if you wake up with blood on your hands, where are the children, what if you do have to kill someone, what if someone touches you, what if you fall down, what if you never do anything, what if everyone else gets what they want and everyone wonders what happened to her, and they feel sorry for you, and then they make excuses and then they say well what can you expect from someone like that, and they lock you up and take away sharp things and then you forget your name and everything else


can you see me




Megan Burns_Auhtor_Photo

Megan Burns is the publisher at Trembling Pillow Press ( She also hosts the Blood Jet Poetry Reading Series in New Orleans and is the co-founder of the New Orleans Poetry Festival ( She has been most recently published in Jacket Magazine, Callaloo, New Laurel Review, Trickhouse, and the Big Bridge New Orleans Anthology. She has three books Memorial + Sight Lines (2008), Sound and Basin (2013) and Commitment (2015) published by Lavender Ink. She has two recent chapbooks: Dollbaby (Horseless Press, 2013) and i always wanted to start over (Nous-Zot Press, 2014). Horse Less Press released her Twin Peaks chap, Sleepwalk With Me, in 2016. Her fourth collection, BASIC PROGRAMMING, will be released by Lavender Ink in 2018.