Fish Out of Water

do you know 

what love is?

i used to

think i did. 


in the way 

that all teenagers 

think they know.

the kind of 

throwing rocks at 

your window love—

nevermind that it 

shatters the glass.

the kind of 

standing in the 

pouring rain love—

nevermind that you

catch a cold.

the kind of

sweep you off 

your feet love—

nevermind that it

is only true

in the movies. 


Love messed me 

  1. went the 

extra mile to

beat me down 

and i let 

It. i made 

excuses for It.

i defended Love 

when i should’ve 

defended myself. but

how could i 

have known? red 

flags weren’t red 

they were yellow 

which is practically 

green which means 

it was ok.


Love caught me 

on Its line

pulled me up

admired Its catch

and claimed me 

for Itself. left 

me gasping for 

air. flopping around 

like a fish 

out of water.


imagine drowning without

knowing you’re dying

the green flags 

blend in with 

the red until 

you can’t tell 

them apart—because 

there’s no way 

to escape Love 

unscathed. walking through 

a million cactuses

will draw blood.

will cut deep. 


with Love i 

was sinking without 

Love i’m not 

floating. i’m stuck. 

Confused—sometimes i 

find myself wanting 

to go back 

to It. because 

i knew Love, 

It knew me. 

at least before

i didn’t feel 

this pain but 

now i do 

and it doesn’t 

make any sense.


Love calls me 

and i answer.

It’s my normal. 

it’s always so 

hard to let

go of normal.

well you know

that they say

third time’s the 

charm. but Love

doesn’t follow the

rule of threes— 

it only took 

one try to 

hook me using

“i love you”

as the bait.


do you know 

what love is?

because i don’t. 



My phone lights up

I’m sorry, running late. 

Doesn’t it seem like we’re 

always running? But running 

where running toward 

what running from 

what when we sit down 

we feel like we 

should still be running, 

taking time to relax what 

a waste of time.

no worries I quickly 

type back n I am 

worried. Looking over 

messages from Bumble

ur so beautiful. I know I shouldn’t

love to hear it but I do

I crave the validation from

strangers online. The convo

goes well until he asks 

wyd at midnight 

n it’s ruined. what do 

I say? If I say 

nothing, the response 

is always send me 

a pic n I feel gross—

if I say, doin homework

he’ll want me 2 come 

over 2 my place where

I won’t get any work 

done n I’ll feel gross. 

it’s that one in a million

shot of finding 

a guy who doesn’t 

want a booty call, or

at least doesn’t ask 

for it like a gentleman. 

what do I want? does it 

even matter. Of course 

it does, but to who?

not these boys who

only live for the 

next party where 

the next booty is 

waiting to make them

feel like a man. 

what’s your favorite

book? catches me off 

guard n I almost 

fall off my chair

when he says I love 

that book.

I type back faster than ever

you’ve read it? n wait 

anxiously for 

the answer my heart 

beating loudly. yes,

I feel bad for ppl who haven’t.

guys want one thing, 

but what if that one 

thing is not the only 

thing? days later

the convo is still going

strong and not one

mention of my body. 

I must be getting

catfished, this can’t 

be real. I was right in

holding on right that 

there were some

good ones out

there not only

in my novels. 

hello, how r u doing? 

It feels good to not 

feel gross. 



Current Choices

a creek with a current. 

a woman with a dream.

the sound of the water

running almost drowns out the 

sound of her heart beating.


is she running away trying 

desperately to escape? or is

she running toward that which

is just within her reach,

is just across the creek?


one step, two steps, three

she keeps going as the

water splashes against her knees.

the current threatens to destroy 

everything she has worked for.


with each step her feet

feel heavier from the pressure

yet she digs deep to

find the strength to reach

the bank of the creek. 


change starts with an answer.

it’s not a question of

who, what, when, or where 

it’s a question of Why

will you cross your creek?


Biographical Note: Megan Copenhaver is a senior majoring in Creative Writing at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending her time as Editor-in-Chief of Miami’s literary magazine, Happy Captive Magazine. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in editing as well as work toward her dream of writing a novel.