Finalist, 2019-2020 COG Poetry Awards

I don’t even know this world anymore

Meg Freer


1. Magnets use nasty metals

from weird, temperamental

parts of the periodic table,

elusive rare-earth lanthanides

that challenge our future.


2. I visit Chopin’s heart in Warsaw,

while the rest of his body lies in Paris,

and wonder where the music comes from.


3. Sometimes people throw sea creatures

onto the ice during hockey games,

and once upon a time and place

someone might have handed you

a Cornflakes box full of handguns.


Sometimes people interpret favors

as interference, and a warning appears

in the newspaper “Jumble” game words:

“carry taboo unlike warmth”.


4. Some days I don’t know split beans

from coffee, subsist on memories,

try to sweep the edges of chaos

into some semblance of tidiness.


Water slips off the tip of my elbow

in the shower in a haphazard

way, but tears don’t drop

or fall down the drain.

5. My father falls

and falls, and falls again

until he is carried out, weak.

He wears the bashful grin

of a boy in a man’s body,

holds only a snatched

book of poems by Verlaine.

Lenticular Valentines

Meg Freer


Typically, the odd couple meets up

at the cheese table. Tension and force

scatter boulders, hot diamond born

on glassy shores, where green ice

whispers around glaciers, clouds rest

on the leeward side of the mountains,

sweet adrenaline wears a shade of blue

that needs some UV to get excited.

In math, odd doesn’t mean strange,

real isn’t the opposite of fake,

crumpled balls of paper follow

laws when thrown across a room.


Does yours imply the existence of mine?

The smaller the lens, the sharper the view.

Sprinkle sand to reflect the light,

sculpt a passage from “for” to “you”.

The Lens Adjusted for Extraordinary

for Kathy

Meg Freer

When stack ice breaks up and undisciplined winter finally gives way to spring,

When the rose windows and organ somehow survive the fire at Notre-Dame,

When the grocery store has tiny quail to balance out your Easter ham,

When the clerk thirty years your junior calls you “Miss”,

When a surprise of jazzy Christian pop music in Korean sails out of church windows,

When the sight of a man carrying a plunger and a pizza makes you smile,

When a one-hundred-year-old fruitcake is found in Antarctica still intact,

When a granitic knob in the limestone plain is the remains of an ancient mountain,

When your child loves to keep something small like a stone or a toy in his pocket all day,

When he says the opposite of roughhousing is “gentle tenting”,

When you learn Salvador Dali designed the Chupa Chups lollipop wrapper,

When you always choose James Taylor’s “deep greens and blues”,

You will be able to hear driftwood’s echo of the faraway,

You will breathe inspiration.