Issue No. 19, Winter 2016

Mercury from Earth
Allison Parker

Mercury is a woman.
She is fast, she is full of gab
and she circles me and comes in
for a kiss when I hug her goodbye.
She sneaks it. I know her fists
will never break my skin.
She tells me when I look up at her:
A woman cannot abuse a woman. She can
only tease her, whisper her name, start rumors.
She can perhaps break your heart. But you will
find another. A woman does not hurt,
she is not like the release of a man’s fist, not
like his demands. Only an injured woman could abuse.
This woman wants to carry the message of war.
She is the toothless suit, the silly pugilist.
She is the critical eye under heavy lids, sizing you up.
This is when she becomes the shell of a pitted planet:
a powerless woman.
And only then does Mercury become a man.

Allison Parker is a writer and English instructor living in Wilmington, NC. She graduated with an MFA in poetry in 2002 from UNCW. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry East, Cobalt, Fjords, Lilies and Cannonballs, The Oklahoma Review, Scissors and Spackle, A Sharp Piece of Awesome, and The Lyricist. She currently performs with the sound art troupe 910 Noise.