Three Poems

Megan Peak

City With a Strong Grip


I claim the cracked up

City—high slit skirt


Renting out legs and mouthing

Off to the night.


Remembering when

My body was concrete dust


With your knee in my

Crotch, like pain was a boy


On the sidewalk. Nearby,

The blast of manholes—


Oven-hearts blowing

Up every few seconds.


The war is underground,

Graffiti walls say, neon


Rats scuttling by with swording

Tails. Somewhere


There’s a wrecking ball, dirt

Raining on my head like


A crown. Tar queen

Dripping, the gutters countable.


The last time we kissed

We kissed like you were leaving 


And I was leaving, the city in the back-

Ground wheezing smoke.


It’s true: the road is a slick whip against

My back. It’s true: the city’s a choke-


Hold and I can’t leave.

This is the home wrecker


I am: small barb in a prison’s metal

Fence, cigarette burning


On an empty street,

Stubbing myself out until blunt.




City With Two Fingers In Its Mouth


All the stoops beetle out, stairs pouting

their cracked wooden lips. The gutters holler


obscenities as I pass—thin slats looking up my skirt,

whistling garbage, Vivaldi, sex.


            I can’t help my small heart.


I am buttoned up quiet—brisk, alone.

I avoid most leaves on the street, but it’s night


            and sometimes I snap.


I keep my eyes to the ground eyes to the ground


eyes to the ground and wait to see how long

it takes me to break my pace or dust the snow


            from my back.


I’m two blocks away before I notice the city

outlined in iron, a block away before I feel


            the punch of another hidden curb.


Every night I am chilled, and the windows

I pass are shut, the doors locked, the blue


            throb of street lamps kicking in my ears.


The neighborhood is growing hands


            and teeth as the wind picks up, the snow heavier,


thick ice clutching the sidewalk.






You dressed up as a doe to match my eyes, deep

fawn with flecks of hurt gold. Arriving late

with a pill in my throat, I watched your boyfriend

tail you—camo-clad, sling bow shining. It was all

too ironic, as if we planned our own end.

Antlers askew, fourth beer in hand, you pinched

my ass in the backyard, told me my whiskers

were smudged. In your bathroom, we fucked

quickly—everything about it pressing and

miserable. Outside, the lights hung low. Jack-o-

lanterns grinned or grimaced, and you moved

through the people, high on my need and his

need and need. I retreated to your couch

rubbing my nose. Your boyfriend sat down

beside me, showed me his sling bow, said he’d

shot some squirrels and rabbits with it. He asked

if I wanted to hold it. As the heavy metal chilled

my fingers, he whispered: all small things are easy

to kill if the grass is low enough. Outside,

you kicked on the garden sprinklers. We watched

as you swanned darkly, the black water trilling

around you, half the bow in his hand, the other

half in mine.

About The Writer

Megan Peak Split Lip Magazine

Megan Peak currently lives in Columbus, Ohio and is enrolled in The Ohio State University’s MFA program. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in A cappella Zoo, The Bakery, The Boiler Journal, Four Way Review, DIAGRAM, PANK, Pleiades, Stone Highway Review, and THRUSH Poetry Journal.