Meg Day

Hanging Laundry in Sliema on Sunday

June 12, 2016 | Sliema, Malta

This body has never been enough.
All night I’ve been fighting
sleep, throwing leather just to stay
fit for dreams that swear I won’t
wake. And still I wake: another loss.
Somewhere in Florida, a man is still

driving. Here, in Malta, the sun is still
rising, the buildings sighing, Enough—
Their cratered faces cuss a soundless gloss
shared with the moon. (Who isn’t fighting
to be left alone?) The men in town won’t
blink—a long drink—til I do. Their hands stay

quiet the way I know a body can stay
quiet if you’re caught in the wrong one: still
but dying to get free. Sunday won’t
let anybody sip on me. Sunday’s enough
to swallow on its own. My neighbor is fighting
with the line on our roof—no slack to floss

it back through the pipe with viper’s bugloss
burring from the split, can’t make it stay
taut with want. She watched me fighting
a row of damp briefs last week: dead-still
& staring while I jab-cross-hooked enough
to know my morals let me tire but by hands won’t

sleep. Now we speak a language that’s wont
to say too much: I pin up underwire & she’s at a loss
for pronouns, squints at me hard enough
that I see in hers my own face in the mirror. Stay
I might’ve whispered to the shy boy still
hiding there, reflected inside—the one quietly writing

her selves unified—& to the one now fighting
his demons across Orlando county lines. Won’t
they both might reply. But if I just stand still,
here on this roof, so that whatever loss
comes carries the burden of proof that we outstay
our welcome to push the edge of enough—

Then enough—I snap a sheet. Enough—my neighbor beats a carpet still.
Pigeons blossom from the cathedral’s dome, scattering for a mainstay
& I keep fighting to hang bedsheets whose bloodstains I can erase but won’t.

Meg Day is the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street, 2014), winner of the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award, and a finalist for the 2016 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and the co-editor of Laura Hershey: On the Life & Work of an American Master, published in 2019 as a part of The Unsung Masters Series through Pleaides Press. The 2015-2016 recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship and a 2013 recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, Day is Assistant Professor of English & Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College.