Two Poems

 girl with diagnosis or gun #10

this is where I always think it is | no | this is where it actually is

I don’t know if I’ve tied my dress with bluebirds or with hunger
if I’m hungry for a thing I can have

if when we wed | our sea-filled tongues | we see men walking towards us with the
heads of wolves
or wolves with the heads of saints

if we could butcher a saint | if it came to that
if we could take its teeth for prayer

what kind of a day is a good day | it’s no longer enough | telling us we’re wrong |
there’s no
hearing what we haven’t heard by now
I’ve been waking with the river starving against my feet

girl with diagnosis or gun #11

strange fruit rots in the meadow once the foxes have gone | this earnestness | has it taken you anywhere | hawks kiss translations into the yellow grass | or | how do you know a liar from a suicide | the moon drunk against our palms & I said it was time | do you have time | could you for one time | just stop | while I crawl backward into dusk | the first starlight | was a woman opening her bones | & do we thank her | & what kind of a woman | drowning in her blue starched dress | drowning with her buttery breath | I light candles underwater & wait for the whales | homebound | licking honey from my honorable throat

 


Melissa Atkinson Mercer is the author of the poetry collections Saint of the Partial Apology (Five Oaks Press) and Knock (forthcoming, Half Mystic Press) as well as five chapbooks. Her work has recently appeared in Storyscape, Zone 3, Bone Bouquet, and others. She has an MFA from West Virginia University.

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