Peat Cutter

by Kathryn Merwin

“Moora” stares across millennia, thanks to a
digital reconstruction based on
the Iron Age Girl’s fragmented skull.
National Geographic


You thought of Elke, nightclub lights
strobing through her skull (colors
I have never seen), the last night of her small
life. Said things like, before common era, processed

anatomy, 515-764. Extracted me, bone by bone,
the melody of sleep sewn
through my clavicle. Tried to unriddle
the mysteries of the swamp: all

of my pieces, body, reassembled, but one
forgotten scapula (I know where it’s hidden). Rebuilt 
me with red hair, painted lips in oil. Perhaps I was
pale, gaunt, sun-lit, whole. Memory 

doesn’t serve. Did the devil-bird portend
my death? I am colored by the bog: take me
apart. Display me together. Label me,

‘Girl of Uchter.’
Collect  what you can. (You left my name
creeping over the moor.)  


Kathryn Merwin is a native of Washington, D.C. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barely South Review, Burntdistrict, Folio, Slipstream, Notre Dame Review, and Jabberwock Review, among others. She currently serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Milk Journal and Managing Editor of The Scarab.


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