“Either Side of the Coin” by Mercedes Lawry

Green light over back door to brick building in dark street. Warm light, dimmer, comes through the window by the door.
Heaven’s Back Door, Andrew Reilly

Under the sullen moon
I examine scars, gently,
then forcefully, a sum of self
over time. What is lucky
or unlucky — scatter of birds
through thin light, the forked tree,
a cup of pennies, cards 
tucked into book jackets.
Pick and choose. I’m in no mood
for further discussion. It’s a leap
of faith that makes sense – future,
shrinking, and trust, wobbly.
The last chance fails to announce itself.

I coddle my mistakes, tilt them left 
and right, notice the scratches,
the worn corners. Some of them
bring wisdom. Some of them,
stab. There is no reckoning,
no tally or account.
The pale moon shines
without alchemy.

Our tethers loosen
as we wrinkle forward. We carry
our wounds like sacks of salt,
weighty and shifting.


Mercedes Lawry is the author of three chapbooks, the latest, In the Early Garden with Reason, was selected by Molly Peacock for the 2018 WaterSedge chapbook contest. Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Poetry, Nimrod, and Prairie Schooner and has been nominated six times for a Pushcart Prize. Her manuscript, Vestiges, was a finalist for the 2017 Airlie Press Prize, the 2017 Wheelbarrow Press Book Prize and a 2nd runner up for the Hillary Gravendyk Prize. Her short fiction has appeared in several journals including, Gravel, Cleaver, and Blotterature. She was a semi-finalist in The Best Small Fictions 2016. She’s also held a residency at Hedgebrook.

Andrew Reilly has published many photos in Another Chicago Magazine.

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