Disappearing in Three Acts

Megan Merchant


I chart the times we mark him absentó
on the swing, at the table, mid-laugh.

He goes dark, is running for the house,
but stops before the trailing foot can land,
blank-stares into the light.

Maybe he is watching sparrows falling
from the byway of branches by the thousands,
the ground hardened by feathers and bone.


The brain scan shows
clouds in the grey matter.

I dream that each seizure is a plow
weeping through the field, cut by a river.

According to the Farmerís Almanac,
this year will not grow steady.


My son crouches into the husk of summer,
hears the moon too loud.
We do not tell him what the doctors say.
But he knows a secret cannot be swallowed,
that it hangs in the vase of a throat

while the cut flowers drink and bloom
their own dumb beauty.

I beg my husband to hide the shears,
to keep them from skinning the light.


Megan Merchant,

† lives in the tall pines of Prescott, AZ. She is the author of two full-length poetry collections: Gravel Ghosts (Glass Lyre Press, 2016), The Darkís Humming (2015 Lyrebird Award Winner, Glass Lyre Press, 2017), four chapbooks, and a forthcoming childrenís book with Philomel Books. She was awarded the 2016-2017 COG Literary Award, judged by Juan Felipe Herrera, the Poet Laureate of the United States. You can find her work at meganmerchant.wix.com/poet.

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