ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Mercedes Lawry

The Patience of Trees

The trees are abject
from the summer drought.
Brown and dusty
like a held breath
conserving every throttle
of life. There is
sorrow in the stasis.  
An occasional breeze    
riffles a bowing branch
where a lone crow
wobbles and shrieks,
as if summoning rain.


No Surprises

just as you imagined
the cold spring with birdsong
even in the rain, markers
of sour grief

here’s the long-ago mother
at the back of the dream
where I’m leaning, trying
to hear wisdom, not doubt

definitions are fluid
like feelings, even
the disguised, each feature
of a face, prepared

nothing is surprising, not
at the root, this season
skimmed, alarm buried
in the tongues of tulips


Late Sunday

The demons are quiet tonight.
The bruised moon sits to the east
outside of clouds and remembrance.
A stunned bird lies beneath the window.
There are no echoes.
Just spiders in corners and wisps of dust.

In the root cellar
words tangle and delve.
Who knows what will emerge,
wisdom or the knots of duplicity?

Mercedes Lawry's work has appeared in Poetry, Alaska Quarterly Review, Nimrod, and Prairie Schooner (as well as OffCourse.). She published three chapbooks - “There are Crows in My Blood”, “Happy Darkness” and “In the Early Garden With Reason” which was selected by Molly Peacock for the 2018 WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest. Her poetry book, Vestiges, was published by Kelsay Books in 2022. Her book, Small Measures, will be out in 2024.  She has also published short fiction as well as stories and poems for children. 

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