Post Road Magazine #26

Against Uncertainty

Christopher Merrill

If you lost something that resembles a ring,
Please call me at your earliest convenience—
I will be standing by. And if you find
That I am not the one you thought you wanted,
Let me kiss you once before I die.
For I have staked all that I am on you,
On you, and don't know what to do, to do.

A squirrel flattened in the road attracts
The dog leading its master home from school—
Another scent to carry to the cat
That killed the rabbit in the yard. A limb
Lopped from an overhanging pine is propped
Against the truck that never, ever starts.
And I'm desperate to see you one more time.

Hours pass, days—and still no message. Papers
Accumulate. And dog hair, dishes, laundry.
If everywhere I walk I walk with you,
Though you are far away, where should I go?
What should I say? The globe spins on the shelf,
Scattering dust on a field guide to the birds
And flowers of the prairie. Write to me!

Against Imperialism

Christopher Merrill

The breakdown of the mining operation
Inspired an exodus of the able-bodied
And the election of a mayor reduced
To penury by his imprisonment
For fraud, embezzlement, and buggery
Of the police chief's son. Gold, silver, lead—
New veins would be discovered, the mayor said.

Hard to imagine a scenario
In which the former seminarian
Found God again. He had blood on his hands,
Of course, and children by so many women
That he could not remember all their names—
Anna and Vladimir and François and. . .
God damn it all, he thundered at the mirror.

The rentiers were on the rise again,
Exacting from their tenants water taxes,
And casks of olive oil, red wine, and beer,
And tributes to their judgment, wit, and style—
Magnanimous expressions of their noblest
Selves in the service of another order
Destined to be toppled in the New Year.

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