Two Poems • Mercedes Lawry

The Liars

The liars are fearless.
They move seamlessly through
stink of alley and throne,
a pale buzz issuing from mouths
that have no resting shape.
Children learn from them.
Rewards are plentiful,
flushed out of drains and pockets
as the summer winds down.
We elect them, celebrate their nerve.
We forgive them or don’t.
As close as our own midnight ghosts
and dirty minds, the liars
wait around until we need them,
flaunting their glorious distortion
of our trembling before gods.



There go my bones
in league with my best intentions.
Body and soul
in a pissing contest.
I have no luck
aside from the useless sort.
I won’t go beyond
the fourth step of the ladder,
inside or out.
Raspy chatter beneath
my window. Did I
forget to lock the door?

There go my arms and legs
spinning like a mad star.
It’s too late
for prayers but
I’ll study the map.
Maybe we’ll reunite
this side of paradise
or wherever you think
the dead are having cocktails.


Mercedes Lawry was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and has lived in Seattle over thirty years. She's published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Rhino, Nimrod, Poetry East, Seattle Review, and others. Her chapbook, There Are Crows in My Blood, was published by Pudding House Press in 2007 and she has a chapbook forthcoming in July from Finishing Line Press – Happy Darkness. She's also published some fiction as well as stories and poems for children. Among the honors she's received are awards from the Seattle Arts Commission, Hugo House, and Artist Trust. And, she;s been a Jack Straw Writer and held a residency at Hedgebrook.