WHERE STRENGTH HAS WRIGGLED IN
Only the sabotage of a broken Sunday, hope speared and split to threads. Only the backs of old horses, slumped with time’s final descent. Plus and minus, the reach for clarity, as if the conversation could be painted in a pretty yellow, specked with cornflowers, set loose to contain the melancholy and the cleaved. What salvage might be tried? Perhaps the small successes will fuse to make a net, woven loosely but as sturdy and sure as spider-silk.
Only wings remain, no birdsong. The choked river is a psalm of sludge. The moon is but scuffed glass. Gone are stanzas, equations, instinct. Like any apocalypse, there were warnings, tiny threads and filigree, dismissive, derisive, lies laced with pomp and bluster. Poppies burst into red splatter, trees of aching brown, the charcoal stink of the yellowed creek. Cacophony in dialect. Elemental, the last sounds, the final hush of a gutted earth.
My chaos is black and midnight blue with crooked teeth and a tendency to hunch. It wears frayed clothes of natural fiber with missing buttons. Harbors dust and desiccated bees. Hears no music. Remembers wounds and calamities and the Requiem Mass in Latin. My chaos is salty-tongued with thin bones, rough-edged and lacking in courage. It swallows stones without hesitation and keeps ten penny nails under its tongue. My chaos nurses regrets and prefers Kabuki make up in a crowd. And in the skimmed hollow of a long night, my chaos can be heard cackling and consorting with the much-maligned wolves.
Mercedes Lawry has poems in such journals as Poetry, Natural Bridge, Nimrod, and Prairie Schooner. She has two chapbooks: There are Crows in My Blood and Happy Darkness, and was a finalist for the 2017 Airlie Press Prize and the 2017 Wheelbarrow Book Prize. She just received the Vachel Lindsay Poetry Prize from Twelve Winters Press and her manuscript, Small Measures, will be published in 2018. Mercedes received honors from the Seattle Arts Commission, Jack Straw Foundation, Artist Trust and Richard Hugo House, been a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and held a residency at Hedgebrook. She has also published short fiction as well as stories and poems for children. Issue 6