Elegy for Sylvia

Stripped down to nothing
in the dirty river, my skin sheaved

like silk from corn. The things I did not say
grew malignant in my body. A cancer

of words & the sickness that spreads
from the inside out. By thirteen,

I tasted like war,
skin of wrought-iron

& chrysanthemum seeds. The snowstorm girl
who does not sing, a wind-petal body

she forgets & remembers. What light
do you keep inside your bones?
Break them in half.

See what pours out.

Kathryn Merwin is a native of Washington, DC. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Booth, Notre Dame Review, So to Speak, and Sugar House Review, among others. In 2015, she was awarded the Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize for Poetry and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She will begin pursuing her MFA in the Fall of 2016.