"Africa" by Cartwright and Merrell


In winter, a drift
gauzes the moment

before the kill,
the snap of mandible

cracking into marrow
of fluted bone—

home, with its sameness,
its old face we remember,

its new face that turns us
into apparition.


I come home to walk the dog,
leashed, into Africa.

Gazelles next to engine blocks,
and a concrete, yellow pride

transform the yard
into attraction.

A tall-grass
apex predator

settles on its haunches
forever, covered in leaves.

"Cremetorium" by Cartwright and Merrell


We sit very still
and wait for the moment

wings stop beating,
telephoto lens in hand.

If we were Mayan,
hummingbirds would pierce

our tongues, we could burn
what I've said all wrong

to see our ancestors
in the smoke.



Patchwork is a story
never told in my country—

the belly, flanks, and throat,
a bill to sip the nectar,

borrowed crown,
stolen undertail, and feet.

In my neighborhood,
we rub salt into the shape

of women turning back.
We set out plastic feeders

to mimic deep cups
of blossoms and sugar.


A collaboration between Ben Cartwright and Lindsey Merrell. Created using procedural poetics, producing work independently, and then together, at several locations they shared with each other via G.P.S. coordinates. These locations are unofficial, personal landmarks in Spokane, WA. Both grew up in Spokane, though they did not know each other prior to this collaboration. Last spring several of their pieces were included in the yearly Landmarks exhibit at the Chase Gallery in Spokane.