“Drive,” a Poem by Megan Fernandes

From the Collection I Do Everything I'm Told

June 21, 2023  By Megan Fernandes

I walk into a record store on Christmas Eve and The Cars are playing so, of course,
I think of you. In therapy, I learn words and box three days a week and read Russel Brand’s

book about being fucked and for months, cut out drinking and apply to Divinity school
and examine my life and the impossibility of you and I and how I is a mirror and you

is nothing but a projection of I and I did try, honestly. I recited clichés when language failed
and let my self-helping heart run ravenous at a buffet of cheap routines and then

came armed, one day, with my ancestors who had lived through revolutions and ships
raging at their shores and they, too, shrugged at me, so I blamed sexuality and childhood

and made every target an easy one, just to make it make sense, but it wouldn’t fit.
Nothing fit. And my friends said words about history and power, and I wanted the pain

to be ideological but it was too easy, and nobody admits that ideology can envelop
almost anything and therefore, is bad form. I gave up. It was an angelic state, a surrender

to a belief that you and the I was a unity that could return one home if home
were a pair of blue stars in devoted orbit, seen as one bright pulse from earth,

away from the brute facts of living. But home is not two suns. There is no home
and nothing to return to, just a series of shadows, partial signs of presence: a flickering.

I say things and then unsay them. It was love. It was not love. It is raining. It is not raining.
Contradictions are a sign we are from god. We fall. We don’t always get to ask why.


Excerpted from I Do Everything I’m Told by Megan Fernandes. Copyright © 2023. Published with permission from Tin House Books.

Megan Fernandes
Megan Fernandes
Megan Fernandes is the author of Good Boys, and a finalist for the Kundiman Poetry Prize and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, Kenyon Review, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Common, and the Academy of American Poets, among others. An associate professor of English and the writer-in-residence at Lafayette College, Fernandes lives in New York City.

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