I went to the horror film

with a victim of its horror,

and though he was not my relative

I kissed his cheek,

blue track veins

under skin of winter paper white.


Various “miracles” had brought him

to this not very clean theater;

silent on that subject,

he took his seat among those with no idea

this was his life.


And when they loaded the trains, he was the cargo.

And when they dumped the ashes, his were absent.

The projector has no conscience,

in dark we sit

as events unfold, before one who folds his eyes.




Merridawn Duckler is a poet, playwright from Portland, Oregon. Recent poetry in TAB: Journal of Poetry and Poetics (best of the web nomination), International Psychoanalysis, Otis Nebula, Rivet Journal, Rogue Agent, The Offing, Unbroken Journal, TXTOBJX, Birds Piled Loosely, forthcoming Blue Lyra, Free State Review, Yellow Chair Review, Crab Creek Review, Literary Orphans, Rose Red Review, Dunes Review, inter/rupture. She was runner-up for the poetry residency at the Arizona Poetry Center, judged by Farid Matuk. Her manuscript was a finalist at Center for Book Arts and Tupelo Press. Recent prose in Poetica and humor in Defenestration. She was a finalist for the 2016 Sozopol Fiction Fellowship. Fellowships/awards include Writers@Work, NEA, Yaddo, Squaw Valley, SLS in St. Petersburg, Russia, Southampton Poetry Conference with Billy Collins, others. She’s an editor at Narrative and the international philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics.