Size / / /

We approached the settlement.
Tamaracks bowed in the wind, in formal wear.
Polar bears patrolled the perimeter.
Except they weren't tamaracks or polar bears --

we just have no words for what they are.
You looked at the sun through welding glass
and said the ancient bird ate it, its own egg.
Eventually your darkness was relieved
only by the gold outline the bird left behind.

Fear of stale air and endless commands I can't obey.
Metal-backed animals quick as the edge of winter
suddenly everywhere:
on countertops, under the engine, running across my back
and the landing gear, revealed by movement.
They're the mute smoothness of grey pearls,
sleek as promises of heaven.

Snow blows through the hatch, which won't close.
Behind me are deep drifts.
The mic stays on despite your silences.

 

Copyright © 2002 Joanne Merriam

Reader Comments


Joanne Merriam is a Canadian poet and novelist living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her work has recently appeared in The Antigonish Review, The Fiddlehead, and Orbis Quarterly International. She is currently working on a novel. For more about her, visit her website.



Joanne Merriam is the publisher at Upper Rubber Boot Books. She is a new American living in Nashville, having immigrated from Nova Scotia. She most recently edited Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good, and her own poetry has appeared in dozens of places including Asimov's, The Fiddlehead, Grain, and previously in Strange Horizons.
Current Issue
21 Sep 2022

There is little more inspirational than a writer who devotes her talents to the work of others.
I was twelve when my mother was born. Twelve or thereabouts. If I’d been older, I could have said things like I never wanted to be a daughter; I don’t have a filial bone in my body. Relatives could have tilted their heads at me, insisting I’d change my mind. But I was twelve so I said nothing. I had no relatives.
a few miles from the fallout zone. / You double-check the index card
Unripe morning / cut open too soon
Issue 12 Sep 2022
Issue 5 Sep 2022
Issue 29 Aug 2022
By: Cat T.
Issue 22 Aug 2022
Issue 15 Aug 2022
Issue 8 Aug 2022
Issue 1 Aug 2022
Issue 18 Jul 2022
Issue 11 Jul 2022
Issue 4 Jul 2022
Strange Horizons
Load More
%d bloggers like this: