by Laura Merleau

Tonight the wind was blowing so
hard when I flew over the
town, I could see the grave-
yard flowers had blown
over the chainlink fence
into the road and even
across the road onto
the gradeschool playground
God is preparing us to be
generous in this matter
of flowers for the dead
One particular stimulus signal
can thus produce two
different patterns of despair
or joy in any equally
empty sky – a sky full
of nothing but wind
and me flying through
the apparent hierarchy
of cells into the center
of my black and white
brain on its seesaw of
emotions this week, this
day, this hour, this minute
A bunch of flowers thus
swirls up against the white
nightgown I always wear when
flying to meet you, you
who are never there when
I arrive, ready to take
you flying over the grave-
yards now, while we still
have enough blessed time

by Laura Merleau

Even if it takes me 73 times
73 tries to the power of 73,
my frontal cortex will
keep trying to find a way
out of this foolish trap
of flashing red lights
slowing to orange
through fringes of a
yellow massive distorting
breathtaking desire
Seven dozen or so bluebirds
stop flying outside my
window and perch on
the porch rail, looking
either inside at me or
at their reflections and
their mysterious mind
energy makes me think
only about how I could
fly all day and night
sometimes if it weren’t
for something called logic
Then the birds fly away
one at a time, and I try
to stay still as long as
possible but sitting still
is not how science advances
So off I go, putting on my
flying costume, the one
I don’t even have to
take my feet off the ground
to wear effectively
This couldn’t have happened
at a better time, this life
of joy and music, this
world where you may not
be here in body but your
spirit is like a flashing
green light in my heart
forever saying
go, go, go


Laura Merleau lives in Waterloo, Illinois.  Her novella Little Fugue
was published by Woodley Memorial Press in 1993.  She received
a doctoral degree in English from the University of Kansas in 2000.  
Her poems have appeared in
Mixed Fruit, Mobius, Magnapoets,

On “The Flowers Are White” and “April Fool’s Afternoon Poem”:
“The Flowers Are White” and “April Fool’s Afternoon Poem” are
from my yet-unpublished collection
To My Cardiologist in His
Midnight Physics Laboratory
, which is composed of separate poems
that together create one long narrative poem telling the story of
the relationship between a quantum physicist sort of cardiologist,
a woman with bipolar disorder, and a flying lioness.  When I wrote
this collection, I was seeking to express an imaginary world where
love and despair are interwoven yet hope is not defeated.   

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 9, Number 2
(Fall 2014)

Copyright © 2014
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.