Poem of the Week | August 27, 2018

This week, we are excited to present a poem by Meghann Plunkett, winner of the 2017 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in Poetry. To enter this year’s contest, check out our submissions page.

Meghann Plunkett is a poet, coder and dog enthusiast. She is the recipient of the 2017 Missouri Review’s Editors’ Prize as well as the 2017 Third Coast Poetry Prize. She was a finalist for Narrative Magazine’s 30 Below Contest, The North American Review’s Hearst Poetry Prize and Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Prize. She has been recognized by the Academy of American Poets in both 2016 and 2017. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Narrative, Pleiades, Rattle, Muzzle, Washington Square Review and Poets.org, among others. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA from Southern Illinois University. She serves as a Poetry Reader for Adroit Journal.

Visit her at meghannplunkett.com


The Dove

Not uncommon for a city to be full of fled things.
This bird, with her half-crushed skull. One foot
permanently balled into a lace of barbed-wire,
beaking mites from a wing growing out of its clip.

I know her story: escaped from the hands of an amateur
magician– battered, learning to be wild, mistaking
a plastic bag for another tortured thing. She is

a symbol for peace, but I know better. On my window-
ledge for days. Feathers white as surrender, cooing
like a pot of boiling water as the butcher shop below
buzzed back with its constant

slaughter. It was my lamplight she found to huddle
into. And what I could see in her: the way she was
pulled out of a pocket and tossed into the air.
The gnarled grip of his fist yanking her up, cupping
her body flightless,

covering the cage with a dark cloth. And now,
looking at me, our bodies on either side
of the glass. Her one good eye finding mine,
blinking together.


Author’s Note:

During a time when women are publicly sharing their stories of abuse and assault more than ever, I found it necessary to highlight the importance of the recovery narrative. This poem is about witnessing another’s survival. During moments of unshakeable hopelessness, what helps us shoulder through? For me, it the knowledge that others have been through similar trials and have survived. For me, finding an ally that knows what it is like to doubt your own pain and to silently suffer has been a huge catalyst of my personal recovery. I think it is important to find others who have similar wounds to our own and to begin to heal together.