Mercedes Lawry: “Range of Motion”


In a house with a tidy echo of rumors,

the mother weeps, the daughter rustles,

the father loves halfheartedly. Green walls

here, yellow there, a bright,

forgiving house yet old wounds linger

behind bookshelves, under cracked teacups

and tarnished spoons. The dead are here, too,

clucking and shoving.

There is no say in belonging.

Words have dwindled, brush against silence.

The mother harbors, the daughter vexes,

the father regrets. Tall windows gleam

like ice shelves. Shadows slant in parallel

as dusk unfolds. A stink of sour milk

hangs in the dark kitchen.

There ought to be mercy here.

The dog went missing a year ago. Hurray

for the dog, each of them thought

before climbing into their chilly beds,

their hearts thoughts in shambles.

Mercedes Lawry has previously published poems in such journals as Poetry, Natural Bridge, Nimrod, and Prairie Schooner. Lawry has published three chapbooks—There Are Crows in My Blood, Happy Darkness, and In the Early Garden with Reason, which was selected by Molly Peacock for the 2018 WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest. She earned the Vachel Lindsay Poetry Prize from Twelve Winters Press for her manuscript, Small Measures, and received honors from the Seattle Arts Commission, Jack Straw Foundation, Artist Trust, and Richard Hugo House.

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