about the author

Kathryn Merwin is a writer currently based in Baltimore. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry, Passages North, Sugar House, Prairie Schooner, Verse Daily, and Blackbird. She has read and/or reviewed for the Bellingham Review, WomenArts Quartertly, and the Adroit Journal, and received her MFA in poetry from Western Washington University. Her first collection, Womanskin, is forthcoming from CutBank Chapbooks. Connect with her at kathrynmerwin.com.

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One Poem  

Kathryn Merwin


You were young in December. I would have loved you sooner,
but you didn’t have a face. Your pretty heart

was the size of a thumbnail. You were fragile then,
and I wondered if you would survive, how long

you would stay. The water came with northern light,
and you flowered. Grew

inside me. Pushed yellow fingers
through the soil of my skin.

I played dead on the bedroom floor (this
was my fault). I tried to come back to you.

The wind changed with your anger. North of your body
I planted my flag, I loved you; still, you didn’t have a face.

Sometimes I think of me before you. There were the blue hills
in Virginia, the cattails, the golden ear. When the compass called west

I was already gone. Walked the northern pass, footfall
to your careful snare. Thirsty and feral, you offered me water.

You broke all my ribs (this was my fault.)

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