Tuesday 16 February 2021

One Stunning Poem by Elizabeth Mercurio


Elegy for Ophelia with the Sky Full of Starlings



Purple Orchids


When death comes, go out to meet it 

stretch out your hand in starlight

pick orchids along the way.


Lascivious to bees,

            these won't make a proper garland.


Dead men's fingers they call them.


They'll want me to be buried in violets,

            they'll insist.





Thankless flower.        Tragic.             Senseless.        Columbine.


You don't love me.      I don't care.     You said I was nothing.


It doesn't matter now.              It doesn't matter now.              It's all gone rotten.





Dew of sea, remember me.

Father why did you abandon me?





You mother, you must wear your rue with a difference.

Your heart, nothing like mine,

snapped shut from the start,


asleep in its cage, drugged in darkness.


You pried me open ― pressed fingers

into the heart's softness,

turned it over and over in your hands.


Wind-rain and a sky full of starlings, it’s almost time.



Day's eye opens. Daisies bloom

under a peculiar morning moon.

Strange, how love works upon us,


daisies in my arms like children.


Now I've picked them, they'll die too.


And when you find me floating, palms up,

pull up the corpse to dry land.


Bury me at the crossroads.

Dig deep.




Elizabeth Mercurio earned an MFA in poetry from The Solstice Low-Residency Program of Pine Manor College. Her work has appeared in Third Point Press, Philadelphia Stories, The Skinny Poetry Journal, The Literary Nest, Fledgling Rag, Martin Lake Journal, Poems2go, and the Lily Poetry Review. She was nominated for a Best of the Net nomination and was the 2016 recipient of The Sharon Olds Fellowship for Poetry. Her chapbook, Doll is currently available from Lily Poetry Review Books.


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