“Nihilist in Bloom at a Retail Store” by Magda Werkmeister

Magda Werkmeister (age 15)


“everything happens for a reason
sometimes good things
fall apart
so better things
can come together”
is what the sign boasted
and the woman
couldn’t help herself
from scoffing
“this is where dreams
go to die”
there in the cold
light, hospital
white, of the retail store.

is there in any of this
she thought to herself.
she was not bitter
for what injustice
is felt by those born
into cookie-cutter lives
but she was aware
of the injustices
and abject cruelty
in the world
and she was becoming aware
of the absurdity
and misplaced values
in the life of a white suburban woman.

what reason existed
even in her own life

dead dog at seven
stood up by prom date
rejection from ivy league

new puppy at eight
met boyfriend at prom
full ride to state college

things come together
in the natural fluidity
of a human life
but rhyme and reason
had been abandoned as infants
at the door of a derelict convent
and had not been seen since
that black velvet night
and with that thought in mind
the woman left the retail store.

from 2017 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Magda Werkmeister: “I don’t even think I really consciously like to write poetry. I was raised in a household of words; to read and to write is as natural as breathing.”

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