Megan Merchant
 Relief: a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements
 remain attached to a solid background of the same material.

I wash the sheets in a bath of tarot cards and tea leaves.

You whisper we are all trees and sketch the float
of sorrow holding its breath in my eye,
with charcoal

until I finally lean my weight against your chest
after years of our bodies living other lives,

your fingers river dark-cloud smudges up my thighs,
bone topography, memory sculpted as relief.

We are made from the same elementals,
a trick that artists use to illume separation—

look how the stone-trees appear
to rise from their background,

the illusion they too are not stone,
not still attached.


This dream makes little sense to waking,

it is not starting anything new, we will not flee
our lives because of this,

you will not search out my number,
leave your wife a letter of apology,
call to promise this time.


When I wake in dark in a wailing room,

I know a fraction of my son’s cry
is so that I will rush to pick him up,

the other-a gift he gives to himself,
to honor the pain,

to really let it sing.    

Megan Merchant is the author of three chapbooks: Translucent, sealed. (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), In the Rooms of a Tiny House (ELJ Publications, forthcoming 2016), and Unspeakable Light (Throwback Books, Summer 2016). Her debut full-length poetry collection, Gravel Ghosts, was recently released from Glass Lyre Press. Her second full-length collection, The Dark’s Humming, won the 2015 Lyrebird Prize through Glass Lyre Press and will be published in 2017. She also has a forthcoming children’s book through Philomel Books.

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