Rachel Custer

Winter in Indiana & Mercy Dies

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 is the Poetry Editor and a reviewer and editorialist at O:JA&L. Her first full-length poetry 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. On February 13, 2019, Rachel Custer became a recipient of a 2019 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Rachel Custer is the poetry editor at O:JA&L.

Image: Juliana by Alejandro Rosemberg. Oil on canvas. 15.7 x 11.8 inches. 2011. By permission.

About the artist:
Alejandro Rosemberg is an Argentine fine artist trained by Claudio Bogino in the classical style of the Italian Great Masters. He studied color under Graydon Parrish at the Grand Central Academy of New York. His works are presently being exhibited in the United States and Canada, respectively represented by Principle Gallery in Virginia and White Rock Gallery in Vancouver. Passionate about teaching the techniques he uses, he invests much time and dedication to his drawing and painting classes and workshops held in Brazil, the USA, and Argentina. Rosemberg is the O:JA&L Featured Artist for February 2019.