The Bars in Heaven

My sister looks up family history and we find women
as maids, as pallbearers, as post office clerks
and ladies in waiting.
It grows difficult to distinguish between the past self
and the living.
The foxes turn red in the brush
while a goose moves down to the ravine.
When we find the body later, beak pulled to the side
like a fork through meat,
everything is salted—what women before us
dressed their own wounds, finished the killings,
put up with their own dead?
Beneath each lover
I feel my ancestors under their own,
wonder if they felt the same thrill
of men’s fingers against their mouths
before they drew the day to a close
with the light still trembling on.

Meggie Royer is a writer, artist, and domestic violence educator in Minnesota. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, The Harpoon Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more. She has won national medals for her poetry and a writing portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.