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Taillights at night on winding road

Two Poems by Alexa Mergen

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Amargosa

                        Remember the full moon?
                          White disc punched from dark sky.

                                            I peered backwards 
through the rear window of the silver Mustang
and would have thrown the shift lever into reverse, 
but I was a child powerless against grown-up patterns.

          I turned forward toward the cinnamon-painted house 
on the stubby street where the fat dog waited for bright headlights 
to flood the picture window, to see us emerging,
beings changed from a day among 
shade-rippled dunes
curved sand crescents
radial sand stars,

        by the silent ride 
along a highway’s yellow lines, 
                          by what was withheld in silence,
                                           what was gained from withholding, 
                 and what we learned about love and its corollary
loneliness.

 

 

Run-on Dawn

Oxbow Marina
 

Even as dusty incandescent bulbs in the rafters of the boat
house dim while trees reflect in dark early water, even as
the tug of the line between boat cleat and post tautens
and slackens and the little brown bat swings home to its cozy
under the carpet scrap roped to the beam, even as day
brightens steadily—like love—and the wicker basket
sits quietly as a cat on the dock, even as tide lifts the river
to levee riprap and clouds billow like smoke in the east,
as trackless swallows swirl high and low in the sky, even then
I hear the slap of waves later in the day, anticipate the end
of this hour, our ensuing parting.

 

 

 

Alexa MergenAlexa Mergen lives on a boat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Her poetry collections include Winter Garden (Meridian Press) and We Have Trees (Swim Press). Her poems appear widely in anthologies and journals including Inlandia, Solo Novo, Sow’s Ear, Turtle Island Quarterly, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Find her on Instagram @alexa_mergen.

Header photo by Zac Endter, courtesy Shutterstock.

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