In the feral city
teeth gleam against slick skin.
Life is one-two-three at best,
no presto, just feeding
and the hunt.      

In the damaged city
the plantain finds a crack.
The lucky and unlucky
swallow dust and stones,
remnants of explosion.

In the tame city
soft tick-tocks with mild gestures
as crowds of the contented
stroke their products
and their bruises.      

In the experimental city
mercy is measured and stored.
Work goes on all night
as the black river flows by,
carrying sighs and spoil.









Mercedes Lawry has published widely in such journals as Poetry, Natural Bridge, Nimrod, and Prairie Schooner. She has published two chapbooks:  There are Crows in My Blood and Happy Darkness and received honors from the Seattle Arts Commission, Jack Straw Foundation, Artist Trust and Richard Hugo House. She has been a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and held a residency at Hedgebrook. She has also published short fiction as well as stories and poems for children.