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POETRY / Heavy Metal Morning / Megan Merchant


When the old man driving his Buick nearly 
cranked into the side of the car where my son sits, 

where my son had his hand jutted out to catch 
the smallest meteors that fall and sprinkle our hair like 

factory dust, I thought of the hummingbird nest 
abandoned below the branch where it was sewn and how 

I tried to wedge an umbrella as awning during 
the sharpest storm, when I could not see yet if the eggs 

had chipped and split, or if they were still a whole
hard-shell over a heartbeat, as the metal doors and beams

are, and how on the morning news there was a blip 
about a boy whose father slit his throat because he could 

not afford a babysitter and would not leave him to sleep 
alone, and the news anchor prompted it a rash decision. 

And now my son is screaming in the backseat, near-impact, 
while all I can hear are tires slipping on gravel and how, 

in some twisted way, that father didn’t want his child to 
be afraid, and how Styrofoam can feel cold as a knife

because it carries heat away from a hand, which the mama
hum must have known because she thought to pack it 

between twine and feather-drift, it’s rash-ruby throat, like 
a spill of gas, a blind-spot until the sun hits it just right. 

Megan Merchant lives in the tall pines of Prescott, AZ with her husband and two children. She is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Gravel Ghosts (Glass Lyre Press, 2016), The Dark’s Humming (2015 Lyrebird Award Winner, Glass Lyre Press, 2017), Grief Flowers (Glass Lyre Press, August 2018), four chapbooks, and a children’s book, These Words I Shaped for You (Philomel Books). She was awarded the 2016-2017 COG Literary Award, judged by Juan Felipe Herrera, the 2018 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize, and most recently, second place in the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. She is an Editor at The Comstock Review and you can find her work at