Megan McDermott

Double Portion

“On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. Her rival used to provoke her severely…”
– 1 Samuel 1:4-6 (NRSV)

Once you start
getting into quantities
of love, you’re

Couldn’t it have all
been done in similes

Hannah, I love you
like when the moon
is at its fullest,
and gazing at it
buoys belief,

and Peninnah, I love you
like an inside joke
precisely landed,
making one feel
both seen and lighter.

Distinct loves, but equal meat.

Instead he scaled affection,
so yes, my biting tongue bit.
Sometimes people bite when
the scales live beyond their grip.

Megan McDermott is a poet and Episcopal priest living in Western Massachusetts. Her first chapbook, Prayer Book for Contemporary Dating, will be published by Ethel micro-press in late 2021. Her poetry has appeared in a number of journals, including Rust + Moth, Rogue Agent, The Christian Century, Psaltery & Lyre, and Rock & Sling. Connect with her more at

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Winter 2021