Continuum [Poetry]

by Kathryn Merwin

I. It was always like this: she with her bad knee, her hip, the bone jutting from her wrist. Three pairs of shiny red rain boots. Dirt caked souls, mud drifts through the living room. Maybe we had darkness in us because we were born near the woods. Three little girls, lined up like crooked baby teeth.

II. When I was eleven I found my father’s dress shirt in the back of my closet. Suspended from a hanger like a mocking little noose, I tore it to pieces. I felt him crawl up through a vein in my neck.

III. She grew up in Twinbrook, in a white house that now smells like dust and night and August all at once. The outlets don’t work, the wires are bad, and sometimes it catches fire when the stove gets too hot. No one could ever live there.

IV. Someone told me my skin was not currency. Told me he could hear God in the three o’clock train whistle. I screamed into a telephone booth when he ran his car off the road. I look for him in thesauruses but only find myself searching for the way it feels underwater.

V. Dr. Parker looks from my sisters to me, black and white prints of our jaw bones in hand. These two are perfect, she says. This one still needs filling.



Kathryn Merwin grew up in Washington, D.C. She is currently studying Fine Arts and English at Salisbury University and lives with an albino pit bull. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming inburntdistrict, Wayne Literary Review, and Jabberwock Review, among others. She recently received the Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize for Poetry.