Mercy

By KATHLEEN HEIL

 

I’m facing two stone walruses in a Platz near the death trap,
the death trap a life trap now, there’s no one out.

What do walruses dream under a socialist—now
capitalist—regime? I teem with desire. Teem.

Learn the etymology of the verb once meant
to birth, curious, because this morning I woke
to my hands on my bare womb.

Now fertile, I presume, even if any child I’d bear at thirty-seven
would be termed, in the current parlance, a geriatric occurrence.

There is a resurgence. Yesterday
I faced a man I wanted to hold
inside me. Yet we are responsible

citizens—we were social
distancing—texting each other
to avoid saying what we mean.

The cherry blossoms are coming in,
tentative, clean.

 

Kathleen Heil is a poet-writer-translator and choreographer-dancer-performer. Her poems appear in Blackbird, The Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, Diode, Electric Literature, FENCE, jubilat, The New Yorker, The Stinging Fly, West Branch, and elsewhere. Originally from New Orleans, she lives and works in Berlin. More at KathleenHeil.net.

[Purchase Issue 22 here.]

Mercy

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