Megan Grumbling


Megan Grumbling’s work has appeared in Poetry, The Iowa Review, Crazyhorse, The Southern Review, and other journals; and she has been awarded the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Fellowship and the Robert Frost Foundation’s Award for Poetry. She teaches at the University of New England and Southern Maine Community College, serves as reviews editor for the poetry and arts journal The Café Review, and is a theater critic for the Portland Phoenix.



I fill my glass with fog, sometimes, the grace
of it diffuse: You, gaseous somewhere. Breath
is loss; confess: A palm before my face
grows damp with gone. It’s maybe in the wet
of some man’s retina, the water runs
once it has left, or in the perfect beads,
late mornings, warm brown bread with cinnamon
leaves on a cobalt glaze. The pristine weep
of this iced gin I’ll drain, I praise—a flow
through pirates, dodos, dinosaurs, all pores
perspiring steam soon you, soon us. And so
it goes, just borrowed. So the haunting, pour
or frost, is fluid as the thirst you’d slake,
a need now clear, now prism, now opaque.

Probably the closest thing to ‘ghosts’ I have encountered is in the seemingly infinite life of water: in both its endless passing, one vessel to the next, and in how its so various forms—cold sea beading on skin, the certain blue of the sky in a sultry place—can so viscerally bring gone things back into the body. The poem ‘Vapors’ finds me taking deep comfort in such spirits.