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Wednesday, April 30, 2008


by Karla Linn Merrifield

On the eve of the war in Iraq
she was contemplating opercula,
small doorways of protection for snails
-- ocean’s moon snails, slipper snails, also
augers & whelks of more intricate shells.

On the eve of the war in Iraq
she reminisced about hermit crabs
that tuck their tender hind ends
into any abandoned shell that suits,
taking shelter from predators.

On the eve of the war in Iraq
loggerheads in their formidable shells
were yet far off shore, so she touched
instead six silver turtles pinned to her vest,
gesture to totems of spiritual safety.

On the eve of the war in Iraq
she was reminded that she is:
human, she has no shell –
only the simulacrum of the warriors’
so-called shells that were put to use
on the morning of the war in Iraq.

Karla Linn Merrifield’s poetry has appeared publications such as CALYX, Earth’s Daughters, Poetica, The Kerf, Negative Capability, Paper Street and Blueline; on line in New Works Review, The Centrifugal Eye and Elegant Thorn Review, and in many anthologies. In 2006 she edited The Dire Elegies: 59 Poets on Endangered Species of North America, from FootHills Publishing (April); last fall FootHills issued her Godwit: Poems of Canada. She is poetry editor of Sea Stories, was guest editor for The Centrifugal Eye’s Autumn issue and held her first one-woman photographic-poetry exhibit (with accompanying chapbook) in October for the 3rd annual RochesterInk Poetry in Fusion Festival (Rochester , NY). She teaches writing part-time at SUNY College at Brockport.