Merridawn Duckler



The homeless guy lives in my neighborhood, which is the world.
He never considers the lilies of the field because that cart has to be pushed uphill.

Or maybe he does consider; I don’t know for we never speak.
A deaf semiotic, “the homeless,” with its echoes of holes and hopelessness.

I am afraid to disturb them as much as they disturb me.
I am terrified of what would happen to me, if they disappeared;

never seeing their hiding places, the underpass concave filled
with heaped cloth and broken mechanicals, never feeling parasitic

or extremely lucky. Never having the surface broken in me.
I do not deserve the homeless, none of us do. Give them homes,

that invisible place we try to return the rest of our lives,
holding lilies cut at the stem, to give the illusion of life in flat water.

Every time I pass and don’t offer my mouth as a prayer
let me be a payer. The scholar told me say shoah instead of holocaust 

because they are not your burnt offering but a catastrophe,
which is such a noble lie.


Merridawn Duckler is a poet, playwright from Portland, Oregon. She’s the author of Interstate, forthcoming from dancing girl press. She has recent work published or forthcoming in Gris-Gris, Juked, Jet Fuel Review, Disquieting Muses Quarterly and the anthology Climate of Opinion: Sigmund Freud in Poetry. Her fellowships/awards include Writers@Work, NEA, Yaddo, Squaw Valley, SLS in St. Petersburg, Russia, Southampton Poetry Conference, Wigleaf Top 50 in micro-fiction. She’s an editor at Narrative and at the international philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics.