Did you do it? He was teasing, but
my hands were blushed rust in dye

and I guess it looked
bad or looked–– how boyish

of him to grin when someone
was dead only 500 feet

from the house where we lined bottles,
brown glass shoulders, neck to neck,

to suck ourselves in and maybe
chip a tooth, bleed it out till the morning.

When she was found and no one knew
anything, I searched

for what I had missed like maybe
an ex-lover, frothed at the chops, except

here was Paul, the ex
who had those photos of

her body sunk in a tub
and here was me, covered

in koolaid, looking bloodlust,
looking the Red Queen, about what

could not be uttered because
we could only fuck

that summer as if we could get closer
to her small hands in winter, the impression

of a leaf, how she talked of Beowulf
like a dog she once owned. She called you

chubby once, he had said and I hated you,
but you were dead and how could I, with you,

all butchered up, underground in White Plains?
What would I have said. Hey, we’re screwing

and sorry and what day is it and anyways
it’s always from behind, I never actually

look at into his tepid eye

(the left), his blue face.


A sprawling elm hides all the men
who kiss in secret above the deep

bellied reservoirs; they know underneath
is a drop straight to the underworld, a wood

and steel well hiding all those roman gods
chained to the ocean pools of Portugal.

I pass the shopcats, leering
in their doorways, stately guardians

in a mangy hunch and down by the river,
the fisherman laugh when I get wet

from a passing ship’s aggressive wake.
The did not warn me. And they know

the sea here. But they could
not resist the pleasure of seeing

a young woman flustered and wet,
my jeans and purse and long black hair smell

like the Tagus the whole walk home
and they chuckle

with their bait, cast again, wait
for a Norwegian girl to take

my same seat
on the riverbank. On the walk

home, I thought of
your tanned wrists and what

your hands were doing
at that exact moment. I bought

figs and okra and imagined
each of them sliced

in your mouth, the lacy impression
they might make on its roof, your gums

a little art gallery
and envy of all the deco

around these parts. You would
have sat with me teasing

those shopcats, we’d do
nothing but write them poems,

give them royal ancestry, make them
monarchs of certain travessas.

One night, in fact, I passed
the travessa d’esperança and caught

the sounds on my tongue. A boy
smiled, told me in English,

that in Portuguese,
esperar does not

only mean to hope,
but to wait.

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MEGAN FERNANDES is a poet and academic. She received her PhD in English at the University of California, Santa Barbara and holds an MFA in poetry from Boston University. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Organ Speech (Corrupt Press) and Some Citrus Makes Me Blue (Dancing Girl Press). She has been published or has work forthcoming in the Boston Review, Guernica, Memorious, Rattle, Black Lawrence Press, Redivider, Postmodern Culture, and the California Journal of Poetics. Her first full length book of poetry is The Kingdom and After. Currently, she is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of English at Concordia University in Montreal.