Author Archives: Anna Meister

About Anna Meister

Anna Meister is an MFA candidate in Poetry at New York University, where she serves as a Goldwater Writing Fellow. A Pushcart Prize & Best of the Net nominee, her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Third Point Press, Barrelhouse, Powder Keg, The Adroit Journal, & elsewhere. A 2015 Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts Fellow, Anna lives & works in Brooklyn.

Five Poems – Anna Meister

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TAKE ONCE DAILY

Permanent marker
is how these pills smell, 
how I know they are 
dangerous. Bitter

half-moment dissolving 
quickly into I am going 
to get better. Just think

of all the bread I’ll bake! 
Loaves in the oven rising, 
wisp of flour on my cheek. 
It’s like a movie, this

world where I stay, hands 
making a song of wellness. 
In the future I change

my sheets on the regular 
because I love myself 
and understand
the power of washing.
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Three Poems – Anna Meister

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A Little Less

I love one of my grandmas 
a little less than the other 
because she never wrote me birthday cards,
never sent crisp ten dollar bills or said I love you
forty times a day (or ever) like I’ve been taught 
to need to hear. I love her a little less 
because she never offered to babysit, never 
made me schnitzel in a cast iron pan, always 
went out dancing & drinking when my father was young, 
leaving him at home to be watched by brothers who kicked him 
& pushed him down a hill & a sister who chain-smoked 
at the table, all coiled in phone cord. 

& because she refuses to call my mother 
by the right last name. 

Now, she is smaller than I 
remember. Her back is beginning 
to curl like the top of a question mark, the way 
the backs of all women eventually do. 
Her suit is the most striking shade of purple 
like how my thighs bruise when I try to carry
all the things I own. 

I think of the last time we were in a room together, 
the family reunions she used to organize 
at the hotel by the interstate. Dollar-store Christmas 
gifts, smoke thick as morning fog. 

Distant cousins in a swarm call her Granny, 
a name I can’t seem to make fit 
in my mouth. She is frail & crying & I hear her 
say she hasn’t been sleeping 
since the son she loves a little more than the others 
(because he mowed her lawn & drove long-haul trucks 
& took her side in the divorce) is gone now. 

She says cancer like his wife’s name, or rather,
says Karen like its root is cancer. 
The cancer trimmed all his fat, left him 
muted & sunken, like a soccer ball with no air. 
I see his face in pictures & think of my father, 
shocked by the sudden twin that sickness made.

My grandma doesn’t like to look at my father
because he looks too much like his father, & now, 
his brother, too. I love her a little less for this, 

but still hold the stem of her body close 
on the church steps as the summer sun is setting 
so long I stop counting.

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