Karla Linn Merrifield


The Babies


the fabled dreamed babies
who came floating down the river
by the hundreds commanded
desperate rescue efforts
roused the elders to feuds
where are they all coming from
find out stay put

what was once Roger’s parable
became Bill’s poetic metaphor
only recently becoming a meme—
disposable Russian orphans
to serve enemies within
and feed their hungry base
pablum of ignorance and lies

turns out the babies
were river otters all along
mud-lustrous none crude-furred
nobody sortied upstream
to prolific headwaters
nobody yanked musky kits
from swift clean currents

all bowed calling the beasties prophets



In Ego’s Book of Dreams, we read:


My father, robed in his clerical garb, was Satan.
His whipping tail was teaching me
the hierarchy of evil; it begins with misogyny,
escalates to incest, to slavery, to murder
in the streets, murder of wars,
murder, murder, murder, assassination,
genocide. Triumph of Superego.

I awoke reciting the incendiary iconic litany.



He’ll Never Know


I am terrified he is going to die.

I am terrified he is not going to die.
I am terrified by terrifying thoughts.

Let him go.
Let him choke.
Let him stroke.

But I’m not that terrified.

Because I’m not that terrified of death;
I’m not terrified by my imagination. I

hold his old hand,
kiss his sunken cheek,
say Love to his emptying brain.





Karla Linn Merrifield - photo by Catherine Underhill Fitzpatrick

A nine-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had over 600 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has twelve books to her credit, the newest of which is Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada, a sequel to her Godwit: Poems of Canada (FootHills). She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye (www.centrifugaleye.com). She is looking forward to attending AWP for the first time next March. Tweet @LinnMerrifiel; http://karlalinn.blogspot.com.