Mercedes Lawry has published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Nimrod, and Prairie Schooner. She’s published two chapbooks and her manuscript In the Early Garden With Reason was selected by Molly Peacock for the 2018 WaterSedge Chapbook Contest. Her manuscript Small Measures will be published by Twelve Winters Press. She’s also published short fiction and stories and poems for children.
How Grief Keeps Pace
I am sleeping on the dark side of the forgotten
prairies, under a pinched moon and the sorrow
that comes with the many solo years, you
only in the bedside photograph, not beside me
or in the backyard or the deep forest, or on the riverbank,
casting your line. Why do the bad dreams continue
my heartbreak? A salad of wounds as if the days
in the long dark months aren’t enough, or the glare
of August, clogged with dust. I am tired
past the dry creek and the spent poppies,
past the crust of bread from a disappointing lunch,
the green wall I painted because of you,
past Shirley Temple and Virginia Woolf
and Agent Scully and whoever else tangles
with my sense of self in the blue-black world.
When morning unravels, I’ll cup the cold well water
in my hands and pour it over my face. It will
feel soft, in the strange way water can.