Lullaby

Megan Merchant

I.Words dull us drowsy,so we tuck booksinto bed.In one, a herd of elephantslives under the surfaceand holds upthe weight of this world,when one bows his head,weary,we quake.In another, a catfish swimsbeneath the surfacewhen he thrashes aboutthe world shakes.Our stabilityis at the mercyof inhumed hearts.II.I trace circlesalong my son’s back,the river of nervesunder a ridgelineof bone,the smoothcorners that wear memorydown to a science.I dreamthat fish haveno memory,I dream from whatI’ve been told,but catfish can recallthe sound of a humanvoice five yearsafter.When I humthis lullabyit is to calmthe tusks,the caudal fin,the myths underthis world thathold us steadyand let us glimpsedreamsbeforewe are rockedto sleep.

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Megan Merchant lives in the tall pines of Prescott, AZ with her husband and two children. She holds an M.F.A. degree in International Creative Writing from UNLV and is the author of three full-length poetry collections with Glass Lyre Press: Gravel Ghosts (2016), The Dark’s Humming (2015 Lyrebird Award Winner, 2017), Grief Flowers (2018), four chapbooks, and a children’s book, These Words I Shaped for You (Philomel Books). Her latest book, Before the Fevered Snow, was released in April 2020 with Stillhouse Press. She was awarded the 2016-2017 COG Literary Award, judged by Juan Felipe Herrera, the 2018 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize, and most recently, second place in the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. She is an Editor at Pirene’s Fountain and The Comstock Review.

You can find her work at  meganmerchant.wix.com/poet

"Megan Merchant's poetry has the sudden fall into dream, tenderness, awakenings and delicate and crystalline images--the tone and lines are just right and seem to be in the language of a forest at night and the unseen eye in the wave."​
—Juan Felipe Herrera, 2017 U.S. Poet Laureate & author of Everyday We Get More Illegal

"Merchant invites—demands—us to enter through 'dark doorways' where crows, owls, bones, and spiders litter the 'bluetiful' American landscape. This is a fraught place, strewn with guns and horses, bound by 'the thick tissue of motherhood, ' and, like most things American, elegiac."
—Jennifer Martelli, author of The Uncanny Valley and My Tarantella

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