After nearly ten years as Contributing Editor of this series, the time has come for change. I am thrilled to expand my role to Managing Editor and provide the opportunity for fresh voices to contribute to this ongoing dialogue. Today and in the coming weeks, please help me welcome a series of guest editors to the newest incarnation of the Saturday Poetry Series.
Viva la poesia!
Sivan, Managing Editor
Saturday Poetry Series, AIOTB
How to Use Water as Fuel
By Megan Wildhood
Dad says I should have been born a fish,
what with the eerily natural way I moved through water.
He and I got our scuba diving certificates
together when I was 12 – I didn’t notice
the Caribbean makes your hair sticky as it’s drying
under a sun I didn’t care would rudely
find every last fleck of flesh exposed.
My sister rejected diving, getting in the water
at all, because of what the wild does
to your hair and skin.
We glossed arguments in the family,
like makeup on my sister’s face. I had to be
persuaded to start wearing the stuff because it seemed
like both Mom and sister needed a cleanup crew
every night just for their faces. They used water
to wash; I used it to fly.
Today’s poem is from Long Division (Finishing Line Press, 2017), copyright © 2017 by Megan Wildhood, and appears here today with permission from the poet.
Megan Wildhood: Do you feel isolated, uncertain about where in the world your story might be welcome? Megan Wildhood, a Seattle-based writer and poet, can deeply relate – she feels like an outsider most places she goes. She’s written about the various ways she’s felt like a misfit in The Atlantic, Contrary Magazine, America Magazine and in her chapbook Long Division, released September 2017 from Finishing Line Press, among other publications. She’s working on a novel and more poetry projects; head on over to meganwildhood.com to learn more.
Guest Editor’s Note: Family dynamics are notoriously complicated, and Megan Wildhood tackles them with unflinching honesty in “How to Use Water as Fuel” from her chapbook, Long Division. In this poem, we’re immersed in water, exploring a closeness to certain family members and a distance from others. The speaker feels connected to her father — “Dad says I should have been born a fish, / what with the eerily natural way I moved through water” — but disconnected from her mother and sister. The final lines of the poem highlight this aching contrast: “They used water / to wash; I used it to fly.” Finding commonalities and bridging the gaps between us is critical. “How to Use Water as Fuel” ultimately explores the longing for connection, even when our differences get in the way.