Meryll DePasquale Poems



Skin: A Haunting







As a girl I wore blue

                             mittens in the snow, acrylic

with a tight knit. Still the wet seeped inside;

                                       I grasped it with my finger tips.


Dried leaves donít rustle beneath white padding. Quiet

                                             except when the branches

slowly untangle. Hard lines blur

             through the ghost of breath

that hovers by my neck. I came to shape snow cones.


Pale fur grows from yarn, then melts

                           into glassy drops. Quickest

to vanish in the creases, in the heat

                 where my body

bends. I crouch under fabric weighted with water.


And you? An idea not yet written.





On Sunday the tattoo shop is closed. Our curtains bloat

                     with late morning light. Between

bird sounds and dog walkers,

                               I wake, spread my toes.

You mumble

        under mounded covers. Peel tongue

from gums with a sleepy smack, your back

                     a slab of cotton spun.


Soon we stand on a different stoop, unlock

                                 the shop in shadow. Linoleum

watery with dim light. Each piece of furniture

             wrapped tight in black vinyl.

They hunch in the dark, monuments

                           that wait to be wiped.


A chill ring glides through as you tune

                                                your machines. I mount

the chair in silence. Cold sweat against a surface

                 easily sterilized. I feel eyes

from other clients, other times.





Remember there are veins in here.


The woods bleed

        deer paths, tufts of fur snagged by thorn. I run

my hand over bark worn raw with antlers.


I can sense you in hushed places. You linger

                            like an anxious spirit

searching for a snack.


Pudding distills where the heat leaks outside. Taut sweet.

                                          Spoons prove smooth instruments

to break open dessert.


The phone goes unanswered; open sign stays off.

                              Just you and me and a humming

machine. My breath sharpens.


Pain flutters me from the words that rise up between us.

                                                          I arch toward a message

that advances in moans and gasps.





Say we live

       within a sensory envelope, smudged

from sorting. Then our other organs form a letter

                                          already sealed shut. Meaning:

at this moment youíre on your way to the addressee.


If you could only read.


This mark is no stamp but a paper cut

                        inflicted when I tried to open you up.





Meryl DePasquale lives in Minneapolis. She is a letterpress printer and participates in a collaborative mail art project called Four-Letter Press. Her chapbook Dream of a Perfect Interface is forthcoming with Dancing Girl Press. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Handsome JournalInterim Magazine and The Offending Adam, among other places. Meryl teaches at Saint Catherine University and the Loft Literary Center.






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