No comments yet

Mercy & Comfort

By Rachel Morgan


Mercy is headed to Los Angeles

and Comfort, New York—I don’t often

speak of angels—ships one of the few

words in English that has a gender—

she-angels sailing to the sick.

The world is learning it breathes

together, that being human happens

to us, and the work is to learn

to let it. This is hard, my daughter

complains of her spelling list.

I’m lost to explain what a ballast is.

We make sentences for radical, pilgrimage,

evolution. Every sentence has the virus in it,

even the sentence with tabernacle:

The tabernacles are closed due to COVID 19.

She feigns boredom with my teaching.

1,000 puzzle pieces litter our table.

In a few days, she’ll go to her dad’s

for the weekend. This is all new,

her two-house world, a world

so contagious we cannot be in it.

Alone, for the first time in twenty years

I tap the last puzzle pieces into place,

an idyllic, unrealistic nature scene—

too much yellow, no stream that

blue—I like the smooth feel interrupted

by seams. I am, we are, alone together.


Rachel Morgan is the author of the chapbook, Honey & Blood, Blood & Honey (Final Thursday Press, 2017), and her work recently appears in the anthology Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America (Ice Cube Press, 2016) and in CrazyhorsePrairie SchoonerSalt HillBoulevardAlaska Quarterly ReviewBarrow Street, and elsewhere. Currently she teaches at the University of Northern Iowa and is the Poetry Editor for the North American Review.