Sorrows and Such

by Mercedes Lawry

Ah, the repetition of the sorrows as if the old prayers had fallen from the beads and rolled under the bed, their quavery voices telling the angels to pay attention, please, for innocence is a brief lie and the many compartments of thought will hold steady their walls, adding and subtracting as the years grow fleshy. What do you say to the mother of a dead child, or a father? It’s only the town boys now, smoking on the back porch in the dimming with the nervous moths. As an elderly lady lumps along in her uncomfortable shoes for appearance sake, little squares of white gum in her purse for favors or habit. It’s how she would be your grandma who you’d loved beyond every sweet summer, and all the candy she fed you and your brothers out of her good grace and taste for sugar. Where does it come from, the ruin and the holes in everything that cannot be filled or ignored? Who does the breaking, this sort and that until you’re only at the window with nothing but the gray and the blank trees, not even a river to soothe?

Mercedes Lawry has published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, and Harpur Palate.  Thrice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she’s published two chapbooks. Her manuscript was a finalist for the 2017 Airlie Press Prize and the 2017 Wheelbarrow Press Book Prize. She’s also published short fiction, essays as well as stories and poems for children. She lives in Seattle.