Three Poems by Karla Linn Merrifield

Why ° Turns Me On

for Michael G. Smith

Such is the prowess
of my °, superscript hero.
no other notation measures up.
° gives me N43°  W78°.
° coordinates the Great Lakes
great geography
of home. I’m not lost.

° adorns numerals to indicate
the angle of afternoon repose: 45°.
I’m napping.
°, of 360°, perfects the circle;
° denotes Great Mandela circumferences.
I’ve abandoned straight edges; 
° rounds me out.

° warms me up with electric-space-heat:
85°F. Quilty-toasty. Mmmm.
The clear-nighted ° of autumn chills
my bones to 5.555555555555555°C.
C-c-cold to my skin. Brrr.
But ° blankets me. 
How cool is that?

Clever Lintner-° of enzymatic activity,
clever Lovibond-° transparency, I swoon.

° is my precise seducer.

Sub-Cellular Invocation

with a line from Michael G. Smith

If I am to get
anything done today—

	follow a kingfisher fishing for mullet;
        accompany alligators loitering, waiting
        to leap (they’re lizards, after all);
        emulate lichen like a circle map
        of green earth on a tropical tree bole
        (think fragile medallion worn by sabal palms)—

I must summon 
a porter of atoms
far greater than myself.

If I am to get
away with anything this morning—

	blast off to Jupiter’s watery moon
        (front-page news, with mention
        of extraterrestrial life); bow
        to Europe, make gassho in outer space;
        plunge into the Perdido River
        of mangroves with  mangrove crabs
        and mangrove spiders—

I must summon 
the porter of neurons
far wiser than myself.

Woman on Love

with a line from Michael G. Smith

She appropriated the edges of love.

Later, she annotated volumes of it.

In her love stories?  Poets.

She was always taking new names.

I was moose; I was armadillo.

Time— and love!— made her giddy.

She wore totem turtles.

She conversed with green tree spirits.

Cosmically, she found home: the Universe.

She embodied the metaphor of love.

She placed lichen in the foreground.

She came so close.

A seven-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had nearly 300 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has eight books to her credit, the newest of which are The Ice Decides: Poems of Antarctica (Finishing Line Press) and Liberty’s Vigil, as well as The Occupy Anthology: 99 Poets among the 99%, which she co-edited for FootHills Publishing. Forthcoming from Salmon Poetry is Athabaskan Fractal and Other Poems of the Far North. Her Godwit: Poems of Canada (FootHills) received the 2009 Eiseman Award for Poetry and she recently received the Dr. Sherwin Howard Award for the best poetry published in Weber – The Contemporary West in 2012. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye ( Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet, at