Rebecca Mertz

Selections from The Excavation of Light at the Wedding

The women’s scars were erased through some primordial
technology. The puppets attached to their fingers with
relative ease. These connections are secondary, what matters
is performance. Don’t ask that your pain be eased, there is
nothing and no one like your family. Never step into the
same tree twice.


The skeleton was buried in a mixture of cocaine and baking
soda. The hieroglyphs were the shape of those old computers
that weren’t any color. There was blood everywhere, along
the edges of the text. But the bones said nothing of them
selves. Your nerves call out for knowledge, the lit cells of
your blood push against the veins and tap tap tap her name


emotions aren’t bad.

it’s addiction that’s the problem

now the umbrella is in his ear like a flower

the men scan the room for asses

direct your eyes without an emotional aspect

go ahead, loosen his tie

move your feet closer

you know you want to be the sweat in the dj’s hair

you know you are the sweat in the dj’s hair

the sweat dripping from his dick

the tattoo on the ankle of the nurse

inside those white stockings


she holds up her hair just enough the strands

  leak into her face: receptors can change in their

receptivity                     you can shrink them up

         with assault      the roots of the tree despair

improper protein production                  which is

aging      bend over

                until your ass

is hanging out which is emotional vulnerability

            there’s just           so much of           everyone

in everything      is always larger than you think it is

tell the mirror

i hate you. language isn’t     a body    remember

the yellow insides of the lilies? the girl’s nose

with the yellow powder? you can still touch it if you

put your finger underneath the faucet


no one ever taught you how to dream better you

gotta try to really get something out of it

no one ever told you that depression would be

the thing that saved your life      the foliage

of the seraphs settled into the water images with

desire     the desire could reach the surface      hence,

the human drama! the average person

hypnotized     until they commit suicide the eyes

   against the lids     the feet emerging from the water,

still      steeped in life. god’s not the arbiter of law,

just the awareness of dimension her eyes light up

with defiance, the photographer

catches the train,           the wedding

Rebecca Mertz is currently an MFA student in poetry at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is the poetry editor of Pitt’s creative writing journal, Hot Metal Bridge. Her poems have appeared or will appear in H_NGM_N, Indefinite Space, Word For/word, Weave Magazine, Divine Dirt Quarterly, Thirty First Bird Review, Whiskey and Fox, Zero Ducats, and an upcoming anthology entitled How Dirty Girls Get Clean.

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