What started as a layer of sheer tissue
spindled around each rib
grew its own heart.
The doctor said she carried high,
which meant she was terrified of how
far he would drop.
Her body—a bowl to catch the drippings,
to balance the rim of him from tipping.
He formed fingernails
and hair, her home-grown hoarder
of bones and blood, stuffed the sac
so she could feel
the swelling-pressure of him nip
the alcove of her throat. She took stock.
Cleaned the last breath
of each word, taught her mouth to forget
their shapes to clear room for his.
She hid the broken bits
so that one day she could explain the world.
How there will come a point where grief
will stink the sheets
and after licking the windows, climb
alongside, put its hand along his thigh
and beg heavy for sleep.
That, for her, there were days where
the burden of handing over this world
was so heavy, that she could
not bend and lift him from the floor.
That while he was reaching up,
she was sinking deeper.
Megan Merchant is a Prescott resident and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from UNLV. She is a 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poem, “Filling Station God” won the Las Vegas Poets Prize, judged by Tony Hoagland. Her second full-length collection,“The Dark’s Humming” was the winner of the 2015 Lyrebird Prize (Glass Lyre Press, 2017). She is also the author of four chapbooks: Translucent, sealed. (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), In the Rooms of a Tiny House (ELJ Publications, October 2016), Unspeakable Light (Throwback Books, August 2016), and A Thousand Paper Cranes (Finishing Line Press). Gravel Ghosts is her debut full-length poetry collection through Glass Lyre Press. She also has a children’s book forthcoming through Philomel Books. You can find her work at meganmerchant.wix.com/poet.
Check out her column on writing poetry “How Motherhood Erased the Muse” released today.