I have seen the most beautiful walls painted by children,
walls with crowds of hands shaped into doves and flowers
tall. I have seen the most beautiful walls sledged by exhausted
fathers who wear the stucco-dust home and lull their babies
into sleep with tales about how they gutted that great beast.
I have seen the most beautiful walls dressed for carnival, lined
with stars, and helmets in remembrance of our fallen. I have seen
the most beautiful walls drenched with ivy, an accord with nature,
water dripping into buckets down brick. I have heard the word
wall in a thousand clumsy ways, the buzz saw and hammer
being cleaned in the toolbox of his mouth, the easy-dirt of his words,
where we tunnel. I have seen the way men resurrect walls to keep
the light out, too afraid to meet the eyes of a woman directly. Because
he knows she has learned to see around the symbol, that it is not a greater
means of division, or a blockade, but a chance to climb, to see people
holding hands from a different perspective, high enough that their
bodies blur into one.
Megan Merchant is mostly forthcoming. She is the author of two full-length poetry collections: Gravel Ghosts (Glass Lyre Press, 2016 Book of the Year), The Dark’s Humming (2015 Lyrebird Prize, Glass Lyre Press, forthcoming 2017), four chapbooks, and a children’s book with Philomel Books.