Today, my mother forgot the word for bathroom
while she was in one. She said dry room, no—wet room, no—
tell me, then what are the others called. I’d like to walk them.
At one point, someone taught me a word I’ve forgotten.
A room I was already inside. A marriage. A country. A war.
A man’s fingers cuffed around my wrist. Someone promised—
it is common, when learning another language, to lose
pieces of your mother tongue. Where the bar lights are also
a call to prayer, and the flowers aching the field are no less
yellow, the spider’s bite still poisoned, when I cannot
say their name. My mother will soon lose
my own and even though I understand the way of things,
I will hear the horses, in mourning, nip
at the electric fence, and I will not have the word for shock.
Megan Merchant lives in the tall pines of Prescott, AZ with her husband and two children. She is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Gravel Ghosts (Glass Lyre Press, 2016), The Dark’s Humming (2015 Lyrebird Award Winner, Glass Lyre Press, 2017), Grief Flowers (Glass Lyre Press, August 2018), four chapbooks, and a children’s book, These Words I Shaped for You(Philomel Books). She was awarded the 2016-2017 COG Literary Award, judged by Juan Felipe Herrera, the 2018 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize, and most recently, second place in the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. She is an Editor at The Comstock Review and you can find her work at meganmerchant.wix.com/poet.