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Mea Culpa Elegy

I thought I could hone my mind until
intellect and emotion were
a single organ. The way a snake’s motion
comes from the musculature
of its entire body, and when it moves
there is no part of it that
has not moved.
I wanted to make you
something beautiful. As if I could
strike a branch against a word and make it
break into water: each syllable round,
and clenching, and then letting go finally
what it sought to claim.



The Other

In year twenty of the Republic of Mercy there came to be built
a glass-bottomed boat that could fit half the people

of the nation, exactly half. In it you could
travel, go places, see fish in their many-finned splendor.

Above: a large wood dome. Flat, dark,
the bodies fitted into each space like coins in a slot.

I took the boat for many rotations, traveled in my sleep,
marveled at the ingenuity of the burrs that turned,

always propelling the thing forward, not leaving us to rest.
Below: the infinite world,

all its ligaments, all its creatures.


“The Other [In year twenty of the Republic…]” and “Mea Culpa Elegy” from Republic of Mercy, published by Tupelo Press, copyright 2018 Sharon Wang. Used with permission.

Sharon Wang 's poems have appeared in Blackbird, Tupelo Quarterly, Anti-, Omniverse, and The Volta. She earned an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis and currently works as a web developer. Republic of Mercy is her first published collection.

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