Two poems by Kathryn Merwin


[Geography of a Lost City]

Said you were at large, so I imagined             you stepping through my chimney, stamping out
forest fires beneath your feet. I cut             green peppers in the kitchen, pressed garlic, crushed
rosemary until my fingers bled             spices. The woods breathed and whispered
music through the windows. I tried             to say love without it sounding like there are too many
exit wounds. Magpies whistled             in my body. Slow ferns dripped
dew like they were heavy with             honey. I scavenged dead things then: fairy-tales,
extinct language, the strange             shifts in time zones, the night
sky falling into your hair. You knelt             in the eglantine, steeped
in the wreckage of your hands             in silence. Remember what you left
between my bones, [what you hid             behind].



Silueta en Fuego

Ana Mendieta plummeted from the window
of her apartment in Greenwich Village, New York,
after a violent argument with her husband,
who was subsequently acquitted of her murder.

Ana—exchange of skin for tree bark, stitched
wrists to the sky. September sun a burning
womb, tethered constellations, parasail
from the window.

Ana—lipstick smeared on the mirror, scrawled
words like fraud and failure, set course
without compass from the east 34th painted
the white dress scarlet.

Ana—nightshade graceful,
black-plum woman, name that scorched

Ana—magpie laughing, spatter
acrylic, blood on fire. One silhouette, a black
halo in the snow.




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

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