Poetry: Rachel Custer’s “Winter in Indiana and Mercy Dies”

Rachel Custer

Winter in Indiana & Mercy Dies

“Juliana” by Alejandro Rosemberg

The snowplow trundles toward us and away
like hope misplaced in roads,

their uncovering. Pretending
weather of our sleep country, kindle me.

Take me as paper, waiting. Ink me with meaning.
Write me a beautiful lie.

Mercy is a faded town
set down where the river bends. Mercy is faded,

and fading. How we fear blizzard-blindness
and wind-awakening. The sudden

appearance of desperate signs: son, we love you,
Jesus will take you back. God, you terrify

all the best people and me. Like that first hit
of crystal to the brain. Terrify, then

you swallow all fear and Mercy, too.
Where can we live after one inhale of You?


About the writer:
Rachel Custer‘s first full-length collection, The Temple She Became, is available from Five Oaks Press. Other work has previously been published or is forthcoming in Rattle, OSU: The Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, B O D Y, [PANK], and The Antigonish Review. Rachel Custer is the O:JA&L “Featured Writer” for February 2019. On February 13, 2019, Rachel Custer officially became a recipient of a 2019 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Image:Portrait of Juliana” by Alejandro Rosemberg. Oil on canvas. 15.7 x 11.8 inches. 2011. By permission. Rosemberg is a hyperrealist painter. Rosemberg is from Buenos Aires where he paints and teaches classical techniques. He attended the National University of Cordoba Art School where he received his degree in Fine Arts in Painting. He continued his study of classical painting based on the Italian Great Masters Tradition with Maestro Claudio Bogino. Alejandro Rosemberg is the O:JA&L “Featured Artist” for February 2019.