some of the river
She looks into the flat silver river surface, millennia ago,
to see if she is beautiful. Forgive the outmoded feminine
attribution, the suggestion of hypersexualized vanity
the tired notion of female vacuity
but also fuck off, voice in my head,
polluting the surface of her flat silver memory
looking in the glass
to confirm she is beautiful
that everything that touches us leaves a mark
even the moving hand over moving water
even my mind with its judgements
a bird that flies over and over without landing
I could not wash the sweater vest I used to scream at him
for lying on, since it is all that remains of the dog.
I tried to toss it in with the non-delicate but stopped
when I brought it up to my nose and breathed again
his tangy urine, fragrant air from an innocent tail still in motion.
What memory will shake me if I clean it? My only memo
came from the masterful poet who said if we write
about our dead dog he’ll ban us from the anthology.
I would have screamed at him but I let his wife do it,
as he listened humbly in a scrubbed sweater vest,
to the high pitch of her voice, in the stink of the past
and who can blame him? Not the dog. Not me.
Merridawn Duckler is a poet, playwright from Portland, Oregon. Recent poetry in TAB: Journal of Poetry and Poetics (best of the web nomination), Otis Nebula, Rogue Agent, The Offing, Unbroken Journal, TXTOBJX, Birds Piled Loosely, forthcoming Blue Lyra, Free State Review, Crab Creek Review, Literary Orphan, Rose Red Review, Dunes Review, inter/rupture. Runner-up for the poetry residency at the Arizona Poetry Center, judged by Farid Matuk. Finalist at Center for Book Arts and Tupelo Press. Finalist 2016 Sozoplo Fiction Fellowship. Fellowships/awards: Writers@Work, NEA, Yaddo, Squaw Valley, SLS in St. Petersburg, Russia, Southampton Poetry Conference, others. She’s an editor at Narrative and the international philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics.