Meghan Flaherty

Meghan Flaherty


Lives of the Saints


The man who lived across the hall from my father died in his

apartment. The landlord said we could take whatever we wanted before

he paid someone to clean the place out. We tiptoed. The man was

schizophrenic; there were papers everywhere. I took Lives of the

Saints and a dictionary marked up. Pity: kindly sorrow. Grief: sharp

sorrow. For years I revisited the pencil scribbles of the dead,

goosebumps every time I saw a new note, indecipherable, from which the

man was reconstituted in my room. My father took nothing. He was dying

at the time but I didn’t see the significance of what we were doing. I

thought it was fun. Shame: the painful feeling arising from the

consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc.

done by oneself or another. Standing on the subway platform my father

said: I know what you mean, I remember being at the arcade watching a

man who couldn’t find the tickets he won from skee-ball; they were

there but he didn’t see them and he just kept looking and looking, it

just killed me it just broke my heart I still remember it fifty years

later, I should have said something.


Let Me Be Mint


It’s not that I think I’m better than refrigerator life. I can see

meaning in a washing machine

I don’t need a retreat to Costa Rica to worship

But let me be a sovereign notion

Let me be an oil spill

Grant my heart oxygen without tarnish

A candle worth of light can be a weapon

Sew my fingers into fist

Trace my son’s bloodline via receipt

Let me pad on bare feet through dark rooms between ribs The static

water sound between heartbeats Let me be mint because

you can’t unfuck a mother tongue. Anoint me focal. Let me be sun

And how come this motherfucker gets to be rubber while I’m stuck

tack and rust? Where’s my god

damn nimbus? And why won’t my wings hold anything but water?


Throw me on the grill. Serve me with Boca Chica rum

and Mucho Mango Arizona Iced Tea and Band-Aids and ashtrays

Trick me into being

I thought Dad was going to live Let me be seventeen

Grant epiphanies: There’s no such thing as the friend zone

I don’t believe in harmony

Let me be unemployed

Let my son hear somersault when I talk about assault

Let him think Aagh is a goddess

Turn his bedroom to ziggurat

Turn cray-cray to Mayday

Let my sluts-in-arms be thorned and split-tailed, Kali-tongued with

bubbles in the gills

Let me ring

Lead me not to fuckboys

but to my beautiful waterlogged wings


Meghan Flaherty is an Italian-American poet and memoirist living in New Jersey. She received the Walter Glospie Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets in 2016, and received an honorable mention for the same award in 2017. Meghan also received an honorable mention for the Kathy Potter Memorial Writing Award in 2017. She is co-editor of the literary journal, Paths. With the help of her mentor, Edvige Giunta, Meghan is writing a memoir.