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Meghan Purvis

Meghan Purvis received an MA and PhD from the University of East Anglia, and an MFA from North Carolina State University. Her translation of Beowulf was published in 2013 and won the 2011 Times Stephen Spender Prize for literary translation. Her poetry has appeared, among other places, in Magma, The Rialto, and The Interpreter’s House. She is currently working on her first novel.


The windows of your house–your old house, even my fingers
need correcting–are open again, even though the midnight air
is so cold it’s as if you could press your fingers against it, cut glass.

Inside the rice grains of the eyemask you used for headaches
are brittle stones; if you were there to toss it from one hand
and spin, land it on your shoulder, they’d clink like silver coins.

Every other house on the road is sleeping, except these two,
your rooms being aired and me watching. The quiet, the air of you
in the night-quiet—the house lets out an exhale of dioxide

and I wish I could see it steaming, the smell of raspberries,
bits of skin sloughed off on the cushions, your terrible cologne
in the windows’ release, an eddy of warmer air bristling feathers
as it rises, crowning, into air too cold, too sharp to breathe.


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