Subjects to Consider for Both Painting & Writing

by Megan Merchant

Film on your teeth after eating a hard-boiled egg. Why anyone would call blood
crimson. Chopping wood on a day you can see your breath. The clicking sound
that Mahjong tiles make. The speed at which they are placed. A windchime strung
with bones. The way winter light feels most earnest in the morning. His chin, as it
pressed against your shoulder blade. The muscles of grief that cramp without warning.
Why men are allowed to age—the absence of a societal tantrum. The farmer’s almanac
that everyone in town is mumbling about. Radishes in a white bowl. Glue, hardened,
on the window that looks like frost. Scratches on old records that are a kind of music.
Gray hairs in the sink. How he unhooked the curtains and wrapped you, naked, in what
light they still held.


Megan Merchant (she/her) is the co-owner of and lives in the tall pines of Prescott, AZ with her husband and two children. She holds an M.F.A. degree in International Creative Writing from UNLV and is the author of three full-length poetry collections with Glass Lyre Press: Gravel Ghosts (2016), The Dark’s Humming (2015 Lyrebird Award Winner, 2017), Grief Flowers (2018), four chapbooks, and a children’s book, These Words I Shaped for You (Philomel Books). Her latest book, Before the Fevered Snow, was released in April 2020 with Stillhouse Press (NYT New & Noteworthy). She was awarded the 2016-2017 COG Literary Award, judged by Juan Felipe Herrera, the 2018 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize, second place in the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and most recently the Inaugural Michelle Boisseau Prize. She is the Editor of Pirene’s Fountain. You can find her poetry and artwork at

Image: Keegan Houser

Image description: a large, red radish with leafy greens on top.