Under the Words
Meridith Gresher

I am a hoarder stuffing words in my cheeks,
today. When a gun bangs my door and gives countenance
to my shivers, the only thing to do is keep silent.

Words should not be as fruit flies scraping about
the room. They should heel behind my teeth and teach
resistance. They should pluck and chew and chew and pluck,
bending, fretting, and shooing. Soothing itching

yarns and chronic tomes like menthol’s rising heat upon
my tongue. So I miser, gathering Brontes, both Georges,
with Woolf, Wharton, Austen, and a bit of my own,
under the pillows, under the blankets, under my skin.