Two Poems by Karla Linn Merrifield

The Lullaby

On the day of the three dolphins
with no other premonition I could feel
this page of paper simply disappeared
& my pen began speaking aloud as if
it had intended to do so all along.

Several moments, present upon present
times elapsed, until my ear acclimated
to song, a pure song of some few birds
whose voices I have painfully learned
through perhaps years of familiarity.

Let me say it was more an evening psalm,
a whispering of vespers in cooling, still air.
Or maybe it was more a lullaby because
I became lulled, slowed, stopped, listened.
I stood until light dimmed, & I listened

Gulf Coast Sutra

celedon seas     this ebb
clouded time     grasp
of moon beginning
to wax gentle      invisible
by afternoon light
soft     gray     flat mask
hides the sun     one
ring-billed gull     one dolphin
cresting up     eying the peninsula
the one woman kneeling
one willet     one sanderling
grab cautious glimpses
twitter     skitter     dip dip
quick bows to wet sand
well aware one gritty valve
of Atlantic cockle dribbles
salt water poured by low waves
one quiet secret
susurrus of surf     knowing
as horseshoe crabs do
Earth turns only so quickly

rise     go among broken shells
behold white pelicans
starting their journey north
spring’s neap nears
one tide at a time

A recent “Best of the Net” nominee, five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had poetry appeared dozens of publications as well as in many anthologies. She has six books to her credit, including Godwit: Poems of Canada, which received the 2009 Andrew Eiseman Writers Award for Poetry, and her new chapbook, The Urn, from Finishing Line Press. Forthcoming from Salmon Press is her full-length collection Athabaskan Fractal and Other Poems of the Far North. Currently in the works is a book of technologically themed poems, The Gizmo Girl’s Diary, as well as an application for a second National Park Artist Residency. She was founding poetry editor of Sea Stories (, and is now book reviewer and assistant editor for The Centrifugal Eye ( and moderator of the poetry blog, Smothered Air ( She teaches at Writers & Books, Rochester, NY. You can read more about her and sample her poems and photographs at She resides in part-time in Kent, NY, and winters in North Fort Myers, FL.