My roommate. chose the time.
hands freezing, hearts floating. with Sean. at Winter Carnival carving
Phoenix Rising from ice. miles away.
yellow tape across my dorm room. a guy in a white hazmat suit looking like
some second string angel struggling to pay the rent.
the razor. wrapped in clear plastic, exhibit A.
the guy is scrubbing the floor, the walls, the desk, the chair, her chair her desk.
the room stinks of Lysol.
I hate her turquoise shirt tossed on her bed, her red stiletto heels.
I hate her poster of Jim Morrison. her I Heart New York coffee mug.
I hate her half-empty pack of Marlboros. her iMac glaring at me
as though it was all my fault.
I hate her for making me think of melting ice, of mortality.
of the nothing that rises from ashes.
only a hazmat suit, a razor & a pair of red shoes.
Karla Linn Merrifield
Six Bells (3 A.M.)
Like a ship, this kiss will never sleep.
Even in the wee hours, it rises from my heart
to man the bridge through weather fair and foul;
slips from my tongue to command
the engine control console even now
blipping and blinking with electronic pulses;
threads the narrows between my teeth,
taking a nip with it a la galley knives
even now deftly slicing and dicing;
and it sweeps from my mouth with the panache
of a dancer even now in the emptied ballroom,
performing a samba of her imagination.
This kiss will never sleep—until it is at last
decommissioned, having come to rest on your lips.
-Previously published in Tipton Poetry Journal