Mercedes Lawry

Frida in Pain #1
I paint what lives with me.
It does nothing for my bones.
It does nothing to break love in half.
I am a geography of pain.
Diego sees it and walks away.
Don’t tell me not to cry.
Don’t tell me.

The long night has an end.
But still I gasp for breath.
I try and bring them inside me,
the small, chittering animals,
the solemn birds.
Everything becomes a river.
Blood and tears,
this ragged love, it stands by the bed.
Go away, I cry,
go away.  I wait
for all of it to seep into the dust,
to become the carapace pushed
by a wind out among
stones and sand, the annihilating sun.
Frida in Pain #3

What is to believe?
The sorrows come
together and apart
with no pauses.  They come
and knot themselves
around my neck, through
my womb, between each knob
of my spine.  And still I love.
What is the reasoning?

When I cannot move,
the hours pile upon me
and I only see the walls,
the tremors of my dreams
which are not so deeply buried.
When I wait for his hand
on my forehead, thick
and damp, everything climbs
on my chest, the parrots,
the monkeys, the stray dogs,
the cats from the dark corners.
My throat fills up with their howls.
There is no breath to say ‘Diego,’
to call him from the next room.

Copyright 1998, Mercedes Lawry

Mercedes Lawry has published poetry for 23 years in magazines such as Fine Madness, The Seattle Review, Caliban, Blue Mesa Review, and Switched-on Gutenberg.  She’s received an Artist Trust GAP grant and a residency at Hedgebrook.  She has also published stories for children.   

Switched-on Gutenberg
Thematic Contents / Vol. 3, No. 2 
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