What I Don’t Tell My Mother About Ohio

Daughters tell lies. We are lovelier

this way. So I say: the snow sprawls

softly in the morning. And my mother

believes me. Ice the color of robin eggs

in the right light. Yes, the trails are nice,

the woods angled out to the river. A buck

treads quietly through the cemetery, his

eyes locked on a single grave. The usual

questions: are you warm enough, are you

writing? And the answers: yes, yes, fine,

and fine. Do you hear the river, Mother?

It surges even under all that weight.

Is the moon brighter there? she asks.

But I stop here—the moon is no beacon.

The night’s a mug shot, and the tub is full.

I relive the man, the man, the man, how he

held onto me in Ohio, how he sowed me

through and through. I am warm only here,

searing my skin in bathwater, the radiator

my only witness. Do you hear the water,

Mother? She talks of spring, how the wild-

flowers will soon burst from under the grip.

O, the rock nettle! O, the evening primrose!

Yes, here, too. Though the ice grows thicker

on the river and the bluebirds are buried

deep in the snow.



Megan Peak holds an M.F.A. from The Ohio State University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Cimarron Review, Indiana Review, Linebreak, Ninth Letter, North American Review, Pleiades, Ploughshares, and Verse Daily. Her manuscript was a finalist in the 2015 Levis Prize in Poetry at Four Way Books, Subito Press Poetry Prize, and The Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize.