Merrill Oliver Douglas


Touch stick to fire:
            the flame I fish out
                        blisters the surface black

like the Long Island Press
            pushed down the chute
                        in those days when we incinerated

things we didn’t need
            and sent delicate ash moths
                        flitting over brick apartment towers.

So yes, when I bite in
            it flakes on my tongue
                        with the taste of charred news.

But beneath that, sweetness
            that swallows the brain
                        like when you hold your breath and

count, and count, and then can’t.

Merrill Oliver Douglas

is the author of the chapbook Parking Meters into Mermaids (Finishing Line Press). Her poems have appeared in Baltimore Review, Barrow Street, Tar River Poetry, Stone Canoe, Cimarron Review, and Comstock Review, among other journals. She lives near Binghamton, New York, where she runs a freelance writing business.