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Michael Mercurio

Credo (sections II-IV)



I’ve stood among the memories of the dead & living both,

not certain which was which — every moment exists,

discrete and borderless. At age 18 I rearranged small

traces in the library’s basement, moving archived

yearbooks, black & white aerial survey photos,

town planning reports. All ephemera kept

just in case & I understood: we all forget.





After World War II (seventy-odd short years) the world   

                          of wood and metal         was replaced

   & still wood and metal held in our imaginations 

                      against wind and rot. This is called progress:


          the voluntary belief that plastic is Detroit steel,

              or that plastic itself is oak—panels extruded

    skin-thin, tinted, swirled & burled into

                              dashboard insets to wow the proles.


                                                                 The world’s gone

                                                                   glossy with oils.





The closest I’ve personally been to destruction:

         Boston Marathon Bombing, April 2015

         in rickety house tacked hillside, Belmont MA, while

         packed fragments—pressure-cooked projectiles—

         tinseled cheers into filaments of woe…


         and I, across the Charles & miles distant, rolled eyes

& Not agained, thinking of 9/11, that first terror

neighborhood I’d called home. I didn’t weep

that race-day, didn’t blink days later during car

chase or house-by-house search — State Police

copters menacing via low lean shadows & constant

syncopated rotorbeats — but narrowed my eyes


against sun outside, furtively walking the dog

while a mile downhill a boy bled in a boat.


This doesn’t tell you who I was or am.

Michael Mercurio.jpg



Michael Mercurio's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Palette Poetry, Sugar House Review, Rust + Moth and elsewhere, and his poetry criticism can be found in the Lily Poetry Review and Coal Hill Review. Michael also serves as Secretary of the Board for Faraday Publishing, a nonprofit company dedicated to amplifying marginalized voices, and on the steering committee for the Tell It Slant Poetry Festival, held each September at the Emily Dickinson Museum.

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