from the editors

current issue

past issues



Follow UCityReview on Twitter



Stephanie K. Merrill

Some Celestial Event

The Eschatological Dig of Cleaning My Mother's Refrigerator

Some Celestial Event

I love old people
keeping counsel like elegiac trees--
those who know their eternal age
is 85, not 25.

Today I saw an elderly woman
with her Texas hair so close to God
her lips the color of mandarins.
This, the lifetime where she remembers who she is.

I love old dogs, too.
The ones who place their serious paws
on my face, telling me to go read
The Tibetan Book of the Dead one more time--
that if I am too clever
I will miss the point entirely

and that maybe I should be more
like Charlie Parker near the end
riding the trains all night long
just riding up and down the tracks
understanding everything

that silence has the power now
that evening is the happy hour
tranquil like the streetlights
full of grace
and soft dark chords humming.

Return to list of poems

The Eschatological Dig of Cleaning My Mother's Refrigerator

I found seventeen partially consumed bottles of water
because you are always thirsting for something      more
afraid of losing something      more.

And here sit the Spanish olives now fossilized in their salt of the earth
clattering around in the jar like rosary beads. Or rabbit turds.
Either way--like Vesuvius--you always let the ashes come to you

refusing to scat       never letting go
of the three-bean salads scattered among the miniature bags of potato chips.
The sour milk sits on the shelf stinking up the years of mustard pouches.

You always lived in some kind of Depression.

It is a love affair to meet your intimate hoardings
in the cold humming of these soft lights       you a few blocks away
now in intensive nursing care barely remembering my name.

The Buddha is not pretending.

This moment I am The Patron Saint of Perpetual Observation
in your kitchen       this place too dangerous with love in the bardo
and I know that the scat-hard Spanish olives, too, are God.

Return to list of poems

Stephanie K. Merrill's poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Rise Up ReviewSage Cigarettes MagazineFeral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, Moist Poetry JournalAmethyst Review, and elsewhere. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Stephanie K. Merrill is a retired high school English teacher. She lives in Austin, Texas.  


Return to list of poems

copyright 2010-2021 ucity review