blue house

I say we live in ocean | you say in sky


I say my mother’s people were whales hunted for their teeth

you say your father’s fathers were doves | landing in a line in the sugared fields


this much is true | my mother was a girl


mauled by dogs in a village near the sea | & after | in the blue heat

twisting loose the copper faucets | filling the house to the roof


your father was a boy who walked through stars


when he should have been walking home

a boy torn apart by wolves in winter | in the center of a busy street


the curse is | without lungs & without gills | where can she breathe


your father would stand so still at altars

so the angel’s wings became his wings


the curse is | the angel’s wings became his wings


all those years | I say | all those fish in my mother’s rooms


all those furious wings

all those men into gods

Melissa Atkinson Mercer is the author of Saint of the Partial Apology (Five Oaks Press, 2017) as well as five poetry chapbooks, including My Own Strange Beast (Porkbelly Press, 2017) and ghost exhibit (forthcoming, Glass Poetry Press). Her work has recently appeared in Bone Bouquet, Blue Earth Review, Storyscape, and others. She currently works and teaches at Lees-McRae College.