The Maynard
Spring 2015

Steve Meagher


November was cold
The trees were skeletons
The front lawn a graveyard
Leaves were bodies waiting to be buried
You were so sick the doctor came to the house
Dad met him at the front door
They shook hands without smiling
I followed him up the stairs
Dad stayed down in the kitchen
He wanted to be alone
He was thinking private thoughts
He was drinking rum with ice
The doctor went into the bedroom
I stood in the hall by the open door
He looked at you for a long time
Your peeling lips and sunken eyes
Mom was on the edge of the bed
In the space beside your pillow
He unzipped his black bag
And removed the silver tools
They looked like the lake in August
He stuck a flashlight between your teeth
Your throat lit up like a lantern
Mom wiped the sweat off your forehead
Her hand was a dish rag
The doctor lifted up your shirt
I saw your nipples by accident
They were small and pink and perfect
No one noticed me in the doorway
I was wearing my hockey pajamas
I wasn’t making any noise
Everything was quiet
The room was a funeral
But you weren’t even dead yet
He pressed the blade to your skin
It reminded me of dinner
The pain screamed out your ears
You bit your lip so hard it bled
Mom flattened her palm
She pressed your head to the mattress
You squirmed like a fish
So she pressed down harder
The doctor kept cutting
Your eyes were shut tight
I watched the tears escape somehow
The blood fell out your stomach
It was thick as maple syrup
I yelled at him to stop
That’s when I got noticed
Mom snapped her head around
Phantoms flew out of her eyes
The doctor kept cutting
Now the blood was everywhere
It was crawling down your lips
Off your chin and out your body
There were puddles on the bedsheets
Dark as a broken promise
Mom stood up and grabbed me
She dragged me out of the room
That’s when I heard you say it
Save me Steven Save me Steven
It didn’t sound like a voice
It sounded like an ambulance
I tried to break loose
She wouldn’t let go of my arm
She pulled me downstairs
My knees scraped the carpet
She sat me in front of the television
Told me not to move
Then she ran back upstairs
I turned the television off
You were still screaming
I could hear you through the ceiling
I looked out the window
The sky was black and empty
It was strange the moon was missing
I stared into the darkness
I listened to the crickets
Their prayers sounded like my bicycle
I went outside to answer them
I snuck past the kitchen
Dad had his head on the table
Whispering secrets to his elbow
I ran across the backyard
I shot through the rip in the fence
Past the shallow creek
Where we drowned the snails
Over the dirt hills
Where we carved maps with sticks
And set ants on fire with the magnifying glass
I ran across the field
It felt like the desert
I was the fastest lizard
My blood was royal blue
I found the moon behind the clouds
Just a whisper nothing more
I looked back at the house
It was too small
The night was a flood
We were the victims
I stared at your window
The light was still on
I thought I saw a shadow
I swear I heard you scream
I covered my eyes with my hands
I saw your nipples again
This time they were garden flowers
I said your name under my breath
It sounded like the porch swing
I sucked the cold air in
My cheeks were red balloons
I bit down on my lip
The blood was warm as honey
I cursed the moon
The fucker wouldn’t apologize
I fell to the ground
I cried rivers in the dirt
I tore holes in my pajamas
The wind painted my belly
I said your name again
I screamed it at the skeletons
                Rachel                       Rachel
I turned my hands to fists
I made explosions in the ground
The dust went up my nose
I was covered in blood and dirt
I had the face of a warrior
My arm was a hammer
I cracked the sky like a dinner plate
You were bleeding in the bedroom
I was too small to save you
We were only children
I prayed hard to God
I wished we were crickets