Mums by Stephanie K. Merrill

         after Mary Oliver

You do not have to be warm.
You do not need a wool blanket
through the long night.
You have the earth folding in on you.

Tell me about autumn’s first frost.
Is the night white with the breath of stars?
Do rabbits crunch the crystal grass?
Do doves’ wings stiffen in the trees?

Tell me how it is with roots that last through winter,
every year your knowing heavier than before.


Stephanie K. Merrill (she / her) is a retired high school English teacher. Her poems have been published in The Rise Up Review, Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, UCity Review, Moist Poetry Journal, Amethyst Review, ZiN Daily, Dear Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Stephanie K. Merrill is a Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives in Austin, Texas.

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