Vox Populi

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Elizabeth Mercurio: Three Poems

Words in a Night Jar

I pray to the dwindling fire, take my tea with cream & grief.
How cold my cheeks still are.
How round the snow thrush on the back deck.
I remember the sticky-face child, who always took too much jam.

She is still here with me. I broke, then remade her.

The sparrow is here too. Outside the kitchen window,
he visits me with wings dipped sweet in wild air —

The Consolation of Flowers

I planted fresh roses in pots on the patio today
―a new ruby color
showered with the late
rain of a Florida summer storm.
Years have passed
since I last tried to take my life.
The wintering is over.
I leave behind the roses,
I leave behind the body,
the river refused to keep.


she sighs

when I take her out

the same dumb doll

who bleeds for me

she has one blue eye

the other is a hole

nothing is good about her

she is disfigured

her plastic limbs

scoured clean

with an iv line

she doesn’t like me

she says terrible things

I feed her just the same

when she is done

I carry her back

to the bone yard where

the moon glitters

in her guise of white

her surface is darkness

I am not alone

a woman is here

she is blonde like me

strong as hell

miss world


her arm says let it bleed

together we scream

together we bury

that fucking doll

every single time

Copyright 2022 Elizabeth Mercurio

“Words in a Night Jar” appeared in The Wild Word. “The Consolation of Flowers” and “Doll” appeared in the chapbook Doll (Lily Poetry Review Books, 2019)

Elizabeth Mercurio is assistant editor at the Lily Poetry Review. She lives in Florida.

5 comments on “Elizabeth Mercurio: Three Poems

  1. Sean Sexton
    December 15, 2022

    They leave me breathless—these poems. The suite so perfectly placed with respect to each other. Where in Florida I wonder. I want to bring her to Vero Beach fora Lenten Poetry and Organ Concert so she can leave a whole sanctuary full of us breathless.


  2. Barbara Huntington
    December 14, 2022

    Wow! Just wow!


  3. Loranneke
    December 14, 2022

    What a wonderful & most welcome surprise to see my former student published in my most favorite VOX POPULI! Bravo to you, Beth –and thank you for these strong, moving, clear and ardent poems!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      December 14, 2022

      Laure-Anne, I didn’t know that Beth was your former student. Brava! She’s a wonderful poet, and it’s an honor to publish both of you.


      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 14, 2022 by in Health and Nutrition, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , .

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