The Dock Hand

by Kathryn Merwin

this is a poem about losing things.

not a poem

for the boys who barreled their broken

bodies into the lightningwalls

of my body. for the knife

of let me       

in, baby, the trigger-finger

of let’s

go back to my place, just one drink.    

you, draining the blue

from my veins, dyeing

empty sheets of skin,

blue again, purple,

blue. the color

of healing of bloodpool

       beneath skin.  for the crushed

       powder in my jack & coke of

no one will ever believe you.

you’ll spend the summer in alaska

and we’ll both pretend

like we’re not losing


you have no idea

       what i’m gonna do       to you.

yes,            I do.

Kathryn Merwin is a writer currently based in Baltimore. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as Hayden’s Ferry, Passages North, Sugar House, diode, Prairie Schooner, and Blackbird. She has read and/or reviewed for the Bellingham Review and The Adroit Journal, and serves as co-editor-in-chief of Milk Journal. She received her MFA in poetry from Western Washington University. Her first collection, Womanskin, is forthcoming from CutBank Chapbooks. Connect with her at

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