Two Poems by Kathryn Merwin

Body Composition


You wanted me to make you
art, capture the way you breathe
stars from the sky, disappear
into the folds
of my nightgown. I painted your eyes
in gold, dark with confessions, your moon-thread
skin, white as dandelion-floss. Your colors bled
together, sang your currency of wind
and wine into my open palm. Your pearl spine
caught the light as you left, lips bright as blood-
drops in the snow: I blended you
into shades of blue. Soaked my brushes
clean. Washed your web of colors
from my fingers.



Assessing the Damage


There is a quiet violence                      in the wind before a storm: sun-shriveled, bleeding

through the sky, permeating                like so much watercolor. A wash of China

Blue, lift into pink,                              purpling dusk. We wrapped our lives in tissue-

paper coats, such small                        parts of something . My tea cups, their gentle

cracks. A fifty year old                        gramophone.Your records, turning into silence. This

longing, held together                          with the mortar of half a decade, made everything

hum at night. The house wanted to      come alive. We lit the halls with candles, let them

burn until the ghosts began to             rise through the slats. There are a thousand ways to

disassemble. We always chose:           burn it.


Kathryn Merwin is a native of Washington, D.C. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Minnesota review, Folio, Slipstream, Notre Dame Review, and Jabberwock Review, among others. In 2015, she was awarded the Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize for Poetry and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Milk Journal.

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