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  • Invitation to Tender, and: From This Thought a Hazy Question, and: It’s Gunna Be All Right
  • Erika Meitner (bio)

My friend Danielle tells meto use a slightly more capaciouswe in my poems & I look upcapacious: "ample, roomy, vast,

immense" & think of the churchmarquee across from Publix:god is real & loves you sincethe you is all of us & we don't

deserve this enormous earth.Along the beach here peoplewalk the wrack line, headsbowed, or plant themselves

on their knees in one spotsearching for washed-upshark teeth in the shell hash.Our configurations of attention

are sometimes surprising—is it capitalism or adorationthat tells us we can inhabitanything? There are many

ways to participate in(egress from?) this world.See the molten sun droppinginto the Gulf? The lightning [End Page 276]

in the distance blinking theclouds, trying to warn us?There are still loggerheadnests roped off with tri

angulated wood stakes &orange caution tape, thoughjust today the EndangeredSpecies Act was weakened

to clear the way for mining& drilling & development.Every day at dawn volunteerswalk the beach to count

hatchlings, release any leftbehind into the Gulf so theydon't get eaten by predators.If there is an invitation to

tender, it is written in drifttoys & sea glass—dunnageswept in by the tide & leftright at our feet. We can all

procure. We can all excavate.We can all strip down to oursoftest parts & (satisfy theclient) make our best offer. [End Page 277]

From This Thought a Hazy Question

after Margaret Ann Withers

My friend who lives in the mountains and I talked on the phone yesterday when she was on break from finishing some plumbing in a guesthouse she's refurbishing because her job quit her and there's the divorce and she needs the rental cash, and we were talking about illness and poetry and her formidable skills with sexting and secret loves, and she says men see women's bodies not the way we see our own bodies, with the scars and misshapen bits and hanging flesh, but as gifts, as wrapped things filled with pleasure and surprise, and I knew as soon as she said it that she was right based on the way my imaginary lover might write "hot" and "fuck" and "my god, that ass" if I sent a decent picture of my ass which could take me months to figure out because taking a selfie of your own ass requires some dexterity which is in short supply with me and I don't know really how to take a compliment either so I'd just send more photos which is ill-advised because this is the Internet and we all know what can happen to photos on the Internet since we weren't born yesterday but in the 70s, actually, and my friend postulates that none of us Gen X women know how to take a compliment because we came up in a Reality Bites cynical era of Doc Marten zine feminism and independence, though I think it's not just us because in the women's bathroom of the college where I teach taped to the doors of the stalls are signs in turquoise-and-pink cursive marker from Omega Phi Alpha sorority that say hey you! take a compliment! and when I tell my friend about my self-conscious C-section scar, she tells me how her secret lover is hung like an amateur porn star with this hugely unexpected cock and what do you do with something like that other than fuck it, and now we're onto HPV and condoms and she says you have to have the awkward talk neither of us have had in years—the one that says I try to protect my body, and I tell her about the other night when I had my first cigarette since 2007 and it was better than I remember anything being—an incandescent American Spirit I bummed from my friend Wayne on a bar porch, and there I was smoking in the [End Page 278] warm March...


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