Karla Linn Merrifield

No Shortage of Actions


Yesterday I did emails, I sent submissions,
two hard copy by snail.
I cooked three meals.
I walked 2.5 miles.
I beat Roger at canasta.
I didn�t sleep well.


Today, another wave ripples on shore.
Ghost crabs begin to scuttle
in moonshine. The full moon shines.
I await the green sea turtle tide.
We�ll dig deep holes in the sand.
We�ll lay our eggs.


Tomorrow I shall write dispatches from Africa
scented with hominid fossil dust.
Or tomorrow write in hieroglyphs and petroglyphs again.
Or tomorrow write my way out of a box of primal dreams.
Or tomorrow write the report on water shortages.
Or tomorrow write the summary of lake pollution.


And in the farther future I will write elegies,
warming up for the one about panthers,
then writing one about Leonard Cohen,
then one about my husband.

Natural Punctuation in Kenya

The Maasai Mara is the subject
of sentences in which
desert date trees are their exclamation
points on the horizon; termite mounds
in the foreground their periods;
their colons come in pairs of rocks
in multitudes among the lithic scatter
of volcanic cliffs; commas are warthog tusks.
Theirs are the impala-horned semicolons;
theirs the question marks curled
in a leopard�s slender tail.
And if they had one, theirs would be
the emoticon wave in a wildebeest�s beard,
theirs the smiley-faced crocodile.

Karla Linn Merrifield

An eight-time Pushcart-Prize nominee, KARLA LINN MERRIFIELD has had 400+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. Among her ten published books are her latest, Lithic Scatter and Other Poems (Mercury Heartlink) and Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems (FootHills Publishing). Visit her blog at

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