Megan Merchant has been smudging paint, splicing collages, and learning how to play the didgeridoo while confined to her home for the past year. She is also the author of four full-length collections. The latest, Before the Fevered Snow, was released at the start of the pandemic with Stillhouse Press. Her most recent awards include a drawing of a mermaid from her son for being the World’s Best Mom and the Inaugural Michelle Boisseau Prize with Bear Review. She is an Editor at Pirene’s Fountain and The Comstock Review. You can find her work at meganmerchant.wix.com/poet.
We all fall down
My logical father tells me he woke to my mother’s
wedding picture in the middle of the floor, face up,
from three shelves tall. Unbroken.
The windows shut—the forecast calling for rain.
A dusting of snow at higher elevations.
There is always an explanation,
until there’s not. Delicate ghosts sliding between
the sheets of us. I purchased cotton ones the color
of ash, sleep with them over my face,
like she did. Maybe I am supposed to love
this idea of her return—a guitar string,
a dark river, a clump of horsehair—
but I just stopped oiling the hinges on grief’s
door. Outside my own, mushrooms look like
rust on the forest floor. Next to one,
a blue heron, entrails clawed, feathers snagged
on nearby twigs and dirt. Only some of us get
to blow away. You took a picture,
my husband asks in disbelief. Yes. The light
was empty around the edges. The shutter closed
like eyelids. I want to tell him that the snow,
not yet, will melt within days, and make the
dried clots weep, but I won’t.