Re- by Meghan McClure


Rejoice! they say. Forget that you learned to keep your arms at your sides, your hands tucked
in your lap like a tissue for emergencies only. Forget that rejoice means to have joy again

& again. I stay awake, I think of the long road ahead paved with all the ways a thing can go
wrong. The way almost is a becoming that may never & too often never becomes

a right now. Walk me backward down the dirt road that ran along the cemetery where teens
fucked in the one mausoleum & we looked away toward the water tower because it was easy

then to pretend desire was for other people. Forget your hand in mine when we sat still &
the doctor explained they found the thing that would probably kill me. Again & again

we will forget what we once understood. If we could remember would we rejoice, recoil,
re-? Oh, how the tiny crime of those moments mounted into something like a rock kicked

up by a car in front of us, splitting our windshield into a firework frozen for a moment
in the oncoming headlights & the car that kicked it up continuing on without knowing how

it left small diamonds of glass in my lap that cut your hands when you tried to brush them
away. Forget how we have almost left so many times. Re- can mean again & again or a going

back. Repeat or return — each day is a deciding which. This morning I folded small socks into
their pairs, hung shirts in the summer sun, pulled weeds from the garden, turned to go

inside to boil water when the sun caught in the trees & I said Rejoice. Tonight I will forget
sunlight & tomorrow it will return to surprise me & I will decide again where to find joy.


Meghan McClure is author of the chapbook Portrait of a Body in Wreckages (Newfound Press, 2017) and co-author of A Single Throat Opens (Black Lawrence Press, 2017). Her poems and essays have appeared in Black Warrior Review, Water~Stone Review, American Literary Review, Pithead Chapel, American Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She lives in California.