megan cannella

three poems

double coupon day, trauma half off (while supplies last)


if you unravel my bowels

will you be able to excise

the biblical ache

that is my mother's rot


that she packratted 

so deep inside me

i can't be sure

this horror isn't organic



To my period on her 21st birthday

I think back to when we first met.

It was the first time I saw my grandmother

in any state of undress.


I knocked on the door of our guest bedroom

-- well that’s fancier than the truth.


I knocked on the door of the computer room,

which had a pull-out sofa

that mom bought after dad died 

so grandma could sleepover

when mom worked Saturdays.


She was wearing a bra, no shirt. 

Something about the urgency of my knock

or the quiver in my voice told her 

there was a no time for a worn out cotton t shirt 

in some variation of the same neutral beige.


From a generation where driving 

was an unnecessary luxury

because there was always a city bus,

she walked to a local grocery

on the other side of the tracks.


I sat at home on a jumbo maxi pad

from the plastic Always pack

my mom kept in the cabinets above the shower.

I stood on the edge of the tub to reach them.


When my grandpa called to say good morning to his wife,

he couldn’t understand why she would

have left me alone to go to the store.

I didn’t know how to tell him.


When mom got home from work,

we went to dinner to celebrate my first period.

I am sure I ordered steak tacos.


And now, I call my grandma,

and she tells me that god has forgotten her

because everyone has died

and she is still here.

I tease god hasn’t forgotten her.

He gave her me.

Her silence tells me 

that’s not enough.


Standing at the bathroom sink

I rinse unused uterine lining

from a stretched out pair of panties.

Same as I always have.

I’ll order tacos for dinner to celebrate


twenty-one years of sloughing,

twenty-one years of rinsing out soon-to-be stains,

twenty-one years of my grandmother and I growing up

realizing all the ways god forgot us

and all the ways that doesn’t really matter 

as much as we’d thought it would.

Do You Have a Minute?

You/Me: So…  [1]


Me/You: I’m fine.   [2]

[1]   Is this ok to say? I know we’ve been through a lot, but will you leave me if I say this. Is this the too far we haven’t been able to find yet. Not for lack of trying. Not for lack of effort. Not for lack of lack of effort. Not that we’re together. So maybe you can’t even really leave me. Not that we can ever really not be together. I think we can both agree it’s too late to try that. If I just keep adding ellipses, will you be able to guess what I want to say? Will you be able to say it for me? Or better yet just respond without requiring anything at all from me. I am hoping you will. But you already know that. Right?

[2]   Don’t make me say anything else. Just leave it where it is. It’s not ok. But that’s ok. There’s nothing else it could be. So we’ll take what it is and make what we need out of it. We’ll take what we need and try to forget the rest ever existed in the first place. If we can’t do that, we’ll laugh about the parts that hurt too much and talk about how far we’ve come. Though, sometimes it feels like we’re right where we’ve always been. Writing the saddest parts of us down on scraps of paper while the other one sleeps. 

27 February, 2021

Megan Cannella (she/her) is a Midwestern transplant currently living in Nevada. Her debut chapbook, Confrontational Crotch and Other Real Housewives Musings, is out now. She is an editor at Versification. You can find Megan on Twitter at @megancannella.