Mercedes Lawry

But now it seems impossible

the long sleep of November,
green dying to brown, the voice
of sabotage, the skin of denial.
As all of the lessons are played out
and the blue-gold commotion of sky hums
like an alleviation. What follows?
Thin wounds and hapless brooding.
No harm in a blurred curse.
Nothing torn or mutilated,
the mess of symmetry wriggling
in the gloved sky’s hiss.
Nothing fractured or displaced,
just forgiveness floating in the harbor
like an empty boat.

In Paradise

Benediction of ruin wafts over the fire-strangled earth,
over the long shadows and pillars of ash.
The remnants are a cycle of drought and fierce winds
as those left without a timber or scrap of cloth
wail against the mountains. Prayer
is but a pocket of empty space.
There is too much to lament. Let us
blame and calculate the remains of the day.
The stench will clear. The moneyed
will rebuild. The flames will fade
to dusty gold. The next
dark thing will seize our souls.


Less the skim of moon than a whimper
as the swallows of early evening leave us
naked with our stale despair.
A haunted blue settles into black,
the edge of trees, a jagged saw, a risky
silhouette, the ways the human
can evaporate. Tsk tsk
of nightbirds like a slow crawl
into our thoughts which shift with the dissipation
of light, so that shape becomes elusive,
unbordered and we can see how
easy it is to disappear, how little
that means to the pines and the firs and the heron
carving its way east.

Mercedes Lawry has published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Nimrod, and Prairie Schooner. She’s published three chapbooks, the latest, In The Early Garden With Reason, was selected by Molly Peacock for the 2018 WaterSedge Chapbook Contest. Her full manuscript Small Measures is forthcoming from Twelve Winters Press. She’s also published short fiction and poems for children.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.