Joanne Merriam


To make life, you need salt, air, sugar drops,
fingers opening a corked jar of ink,
a perfect silence and flying. When the rain stops

the wind chimes, water drips into a metal sink,
a long open sigh from silver lips.
Fingers opening a corked jar of ink.

Tiny motors predict a lepidopteran eclipse,
dusting over your palms, your thighs,
your long open sigh, your silver lips,

flywheels dividing in your mouth. Your guise
a stone mockup of wings.
Dusting over your palms, your sighs,

springs, strings, swings, bodily things:
to make life, you need salt, air, sugar drops,
a stone mockup of wings,
and our perfect silence, for flying when the rain stops.

Joanne Merriam is the author of The Glaze from Breaking (Stride, 2005). Her work has appeared in The Fiddlehead, Prick of the Spindle and Third Wednesday, and previously in Stirring. This originally appeared in 42 Magazine. You can find her online at

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