I have survived too many times.
The car accident, the under-toe, the horse’s slip
in the mud—his entire weight on top of me.
The full bottle of vodka, the brief
sleep at the wheel, all those asthma attacks
pock-marking the hallways of my elementary school.
Each victory I believe, except for one. Years ago,
I jumped out an eleven-story window, over an eight-
foot gap to the slanted shingles of an adjacent roof.
I remember seeing the sky most of all
and sometimes my hands, feral and clawing at the slate.
I made it safely to the top, balanced on the narrow
of that building like a weather vane, the purple night
moving just for me as I spread my arms like a storybook idiot.
I can’t remember why I do most things. This is most things.
If there was a rotted knot in my brain it grew in the center.
Sometimes, I think about this climb and the fear
I forgot to feel floods over me. When I sit for too long
my back aches like it is broken and I know I must have
fallen. I am still there. Head split open.
Just a blood orange crushed on a sidewalk, I must be.
by Meghann Plunkett
Meghann Plunkett is a New York City based writer and performer. Her work has been published in national and international literary magazines including The Shop, Southword Press and Simon & Schuster’s new anthology, Chorus. She has been the artist in residence at Berklee College as well as an Acentos Writers’ fellow. She is the 2013 Paris-American Pushcart Nominee and has taught poetry everywhere from Yale University to halfway homes and sober living environments. She is a co-founder, producer and performer for the show Kiss Punch Poem: an official selection at the Chicago Improv Festival, the New York City Poetry Festival, the Hawaii Improv Festival and the Boston Comedy Arts Festival.