Mercedes Lawry is the author of Small Measures, forthcoming from Twelve Winters Press, and three chapbooks, the latest, In the Early Garden with Reason, which was selected by Molly Peacock for the 2018 WaterSedge Chapbook Contest. Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Poetry, Nimrod, and Prairie Schooner. Mercedes’s work has been nominated five times for a Pushcart Prize and her fiction was a semi-finalist in The Best Small Fictions 2016. Additionally, she’s published stories and poems for children. She lives in Seattle.
The unmoored widow wanders the ruins,
unaware of north or south, clinging
to renegade vines looping the broken stone.
She wrestles with memory, spars
with truth. What is left to sacrifice?
This is a forgotten place. She would like
to forget or disappear into the horizon of bruised clouds.
Winter has collapsed and there is nowhere
to hide. She runs her hand over stray shards,
watches blood emerge from jittery scratches,
paints her face with thin, red lines –
an announcement of grief, a small, desperate
measure. In a corner where the shriveled roots
of a dead tree spiral in confusion, she waits
for mercy that can’t be carried
by the geese overhead or the bees nudging
the sparse poppies, or the foggy moon
that has begun to emerge, even
as a stale sun still burns.