Precautionary Measures

by Meredith Blankinship

Meredith Blankinship Giving Daddy a Hand

Spokane & Friends

From the exercise bike on the 2nd story
of the glass-walled gym I watch the action
at the Kum & Go across the street
I read nutritional information for
a Burger King fish fillet I chew
mindfully in the turnpike truck stop
just outside of Pittsburgh

Slomming the page with bursts
of terror, epileptic Xmas tree
gums my sleep. Don’t worry baby
visiting Spokane tonight
just saving for necessity

This is me before and after 10 cups
hung alone in the swing of middle
ground squinting into the sun. My limits
worse over time. Secrete and slip and when
I breathe in it is kerosene. After
I clawed my skin off they said
keep digging until you hit bone
Now I piss away the light

A woman is like two miniature collies
out for a walk, an inoffensive place where
anyone may lay down. Maybe some of us
don’t have to do horrible things
in order to be better people but I did
and that’s the best I’ve got

Grim Girls

Begin with the scribbled-out
Begin with a fever
Somebody’s dad touching you behind
the concession stand
and you

Say bad of ghosts
that don’t know your names
Walking down to the river, at the river
you never want to go back
Tie a shoelace
a bit of calico a plastic bag
to a branch close to the water
to trail the surface of the water

And then you go back
but this time pearl-handled funnel
above is ready
to clip what’s happening to you
The impulse hammering

where grim girls hold
their severed tongues
Magpies pick politely
at traffic’s orange, they know
the difference between
each kind of apologia

You proceed down the hole too small
for your cabbage-leafed hands
Your weeping pink eyes
sopping disease, inclination
to disintegrate into the floor, pool
you’ve ground yourself into

Tell the truth
Barricade the door
No face beyond the hair threshed
No room now for niceties:
nightgown, doily, bloodied linen
In a voice that laughs
at everything you
get more under-
belly than you’d think


Dawn at the First Disruption of Base Camp

The cat’s mournful yawp
at my hush-the-brain
at my restless liver
the hole in the ocean you find
when you break the knife
from handle, become once-human,

when the leaves fall off
the trees
and onto snowy ground
you see the branches filled
with crows

the monster’s legs
tattooed astride her pubis
then life got boring
the ice repose
of a vine-covered day

the timbre of a way
to remember
that each picture is another
thing I’ll never see

like what’s swimming
in the lake
in the abandoned mall
in Bangkok



because the dead
corrupt the living
answer without names
each sun

unbearable vertiginous neck
tendons clamping into
finely scraped hollows

tooth sharps, lick clean
the stethoscope that is
hungry, as all creeping
things hunger and grin

with or without naming names
the dead contaminate
your face miming
in the voice of your loved
ones from very far away

who may speak to the dead?
whose living days
reek with interference
calling back what belongs in
cedars in the bulge
of blackberry root
palpate what is left behind
for containment
the blue tarp flapping
in the yard

you say you
do not know me but I
am here for good


Precautionary Measures

Morning grins in the face
of the drunk dude who tries to break
the shatterproof glass of the front
door with his sternum. We are
what’s on the internet on repeat
when spellcheck is off. Let the engine
accept its ramifications. Let light
decide to do its thing or not.
This new kind of house has pleasant
stink only slightly putrid so look
close for secret spores.
Hello July, today I will listen
to all ten common sounds that cause
deafness on repeat and I will fucking
love it. What are you going to
do, July? I love you, skinning paper
with a bookmark, lines
thinning out into the distance,
into time we haven’t ruined yet.


Photo by Lisa Wells

Photo by Lisa Wells

Meredith Blankinship is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from H_NGM_N, SKYDEER HELPKING, Imperial Matters, Heavy Feather Review, Similar:Peaks::, GlitterMob, Sink Review, and Finery,among others. She is a recent transplant to Atlanta, GA.

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Categories: Writing


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