5 pm | SATURDAY, MAY 27
Acclaimed poet, Megan Merchant returns to the Peregrine to read selections from her latest collection of poetry, The Dark's Humming, which won the 2015 Lyrebird Prize. Recently, five of Megan's new poems won the COG Literary Award, judged by Juan Felipe Herrera. They will soon be featured in an animated short film, or graphic novel!
— for those trapped in Aleppo
I would paint the snow for you
if the street light wouldn’t melt it.
I would paint each broken bone kissed
with lip gloss and a tambourine snagging
a sweater. I would paint the walls as frozen
cities, the shush of traffic, slush of light,
and there would be no late for the party
because I would stall fret,
and airplane engines from whirling,
the tarmac pigeons still cooing free.
I would paint you. A fingernail moon.
A waxy rind. A bucket of water.
A bombed-out building. The white chalk
of rubble in your hair. A river to wash
in, cool enough that when the swirl licked
your shins, you would feel
your borders blend clean, mix into stone,
grey with breath
but breathing. I would paint the
longest table, and leave the seat
empty, next to yours, room enough
for our elbows to pass and static,
while the wine is being shared
and blissing our mouths into prayer,
a language neither of us speaks,
which is why I would paint us
slipped from our clothes and touching.
Same to same.
A raven’s feather swirling about,
a basket clogged with warm bread,
loaves halved in crystalline salt,
and when we blink at each other
we would see veins that are flowing with blood,
but mostly water. I would paint a placenta-sky,
gamey and wired. Electric.
The wink of a heartbeat
that is mine and not my own,
pulsing like bombs dropping
one, one, one, tearing a hole
in the wall, where a large painting of god
was hung, gold-encrusted,
but now just an opening of light.
I would paint your grave as a pair
of shoes left by the front door,
laces untied and waiting,
toes scuffed, facing out.
Flecks of stone and screams
like salt, floating.
About the Author
Megan Merchant lives in the tall pines of Prescott, Arizona where she spends her days exploring, drinking too much coffee and avoiding the laundry. Megan Merchant is a 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poems have most recently appeared in publications including Red Paint Hill, Rat’s Ass Review, Mothers Always Write, Crack the Spine and First Literary Review East. 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. She is also the author of three chapbooks: Translucent, sealed., In the Rooms of a Tiny House, and Unspeakable Light. Gravel Ghosts is her debut full-length poetry collection. She also has a children’s book forthcoming. Find out more about Megan Merchant »