Where the Waters are Tender

by Stephanie K. Merrill 

I am keeping faith in seaweed 
now the kelp, the dulse, the nori, the alaria
manifesting salt from the sea
for this salt of the earth flesh
this ocean this deep dive of cells.
I am eating billions of years backwards.
Everything in the sea is the sea.
Everything in the body is the body
opening doors to all that roars in the waves
in the healings in this sudden archive of grief
in these carnival days in these carnival names
in these carnival stalls called loss. Every night now I dine
with the porpoises, with the turtles, with the manatees 
among tender curtains swaying just below high-water mark
these oxygen-chanting relics from the seed millennia
this fresh home with all its ancestral essential hopefulness.


Stephanie K. Merrill has poems published in The Rise Up ReviewBlue Heron ReviewSage Cigarettes MagazineFeral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, and elsewhere. She has work forthcoming in the June 2021 issue of UCity Review. Stephanie K. Merrill is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a retired high school English teacher. She lives in Austin, Texas.