A lie saved her at the last minute. She dropped the knife, which (in a poem) might drop silently out of the picture, having done its time in the one line that needs a honed edge. Here we can let it drop to the tiled floor, let it clatter like a spun quarter hula-dancing ever faster while she drops to her knees, stunned by a vision of Mary Magdalene rippling in the bath water—memory sudden as sheet lightning—so close she can feel the fallen woman’s intake of breath, the exhalation it prompts in her, this rain of loss, this song for Him, offstage at the moment but strapping, silken-bearded, anatomically complete. Not knowing how to love him. And after, the bath water lapping at its porcelain banks, knife’s tremolo so fine it pierces the heavy damp and passes through her, kneeling still and breathless, believing that the synaptic fiction of a woman who loved Jesus has saved her from what she might have done to herself with the knife. It is the muscle and bone of him she forgets to remember. The begotten son. The redemption of flesh.
has been honored by a Pushcart Prize for his autobiographical essay, “How to Shoot at Someone Who Outdrew You,” forthcoming in Pushcart Prize XLII. Recipient of the 2017 Kay Cattarulla Award for Best Short Story from the Texas Institute of Letters, Meischen has fiction, nonfiction, or poetry in Borderlands, The Gettysburg Review, The Ocotillo Review, San Pedro River Review, Southern Poetry Review, Talking Writing, and elsewhere. Co-founder and Managing Editor of Dos Gatos Press, he lives in Albuquerque, NM, with his husband—also his co-publisher and co-editor—Scott Wiggerman.