​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

R I V E R   R O A D   N O R T H

Brother, if you must speak, sew a wolf's tooth under your left arm.
If you must run, thread your skirt with fish scales.

The witches here are patient as caves.

They carry knives between their lungs, a rebuke in their ribs. 
The sophic hearts of baby goats 

hum water-level. You, too, will curse yourself with prudence.

You, too, will weary leading 
the black-foot oxen out again from your father's fields—take now 

their noses in your hands, their grain upon your own immortal back.

Melissa Atkinson Mercer has an MFA from West Virginia University. She is the author of the chapbook Storm Was Her Voice (forthcoming, Dancing Girl Press, 2016). She currently lives under Grandfather Mountain with her husband and five cats.

                  M E L I S S A   A T K I N S O N   M E R C E R