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Kathryn Merwin


Demeter Speaks to Persephone, Vanishing


And what were you thinking of then, my pomegranate girl? What carried  

your pastel shins, naked ankles striped in mud, from where the sea  

could still save you. The moon-dark violets at your fingers, the roots,   

will turn to rot, decay. There is time to watch the wild wind swell  

here on the coast. Distance is something you must learn – a unit of measure,   

the taste of black salt, an infant dropping in utero. Such small hands. But daughter,   

time will not swaddle you in shadow. You belong to nothing. You knew   

what you wanted, but did not know what it meant to lose your narrowness. Your body,   

spring fruit bitten down to the browning core. You stopped my shedding,   

a tourniquet to the way the moon demands its tax of blood each month. Moved   

 in my body like a riddle. I lifted nightshade, pink as forgetting,  

to my lips, and you snarled. You wanted to breathe before you had lungs.   

I listened. For you, I held my breath longer.

Kathryn Merwin

Kathryn Merwin is a writer currently based in Baltimore. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hayden's Ferry, Passages North, Sugar House, Prairie Schooner, Verse Daily and Blackbird. She has read and/or reviewed for the Bellingham Review, WomenArts Quartertly and the Adroit Journal. Kathryn received her MFA in poetry from Western Washington University, and her first collection, Womanskin, is forthcoming from CutBank Chapbooks. Connect with her at

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