The Tower Journal

Meryl McQueen



He doesn’t think he’s God. Such
Mercy as is given, small
And hard, splinters against much
More. He is genius and gestures, all

Bundled in a cracked view
Of the world. He doesn’t think
He’s Einstein, though he’ll argue
Dark to daybreak in unblinking

Zeal that the notes are
His. Equations dance, he
Says, dip and twirl in jarring
Swoops, drunken swallows, each

Bird a sign, each sign a bird.
For me, delusion is a welcome word.

The Sentry or the Satellite

The dead moon spits columns of light
Over a field where the screech owl
Shakes herself loose from day’s

Camouflage. Wings press into the night
Hunt with a low whistle. Coyote’s howl
Is a twang that tilts and ricochets

In the grove. Shadows & sprites twist
Over themselves in the deeper dark
As the moon settles in

Across the shallow pond of moss, mist,
And fire. Is she satellite or sentry, this spark
That watches the world loop and spin?

Does she guard or ground us? Is lunar
Press a blessing or a curse? The moon binds
And breathes motion into tidal seas

With passing interest. But this rock, no sooner
Disavowed in static orbit, finds
Purchase in our myths, which wrest and ease

Us back into the night.

They Will Not Wait for Day

What’s this talk of night
And rest, world settled
And unreachable? In war the dark
Does not descend. Night leers
Around the hairpin bend of day

With dripping jaws, tight
Chest, and curled talons. Let all
Creatures crawl and scuffle, bark
Or whine or bellow. Let mottled fear
Shine white as an X-ray

On background of gray-scaled light.
Their version of night won’t blink, yet will
Stare and pin an easy mark
Like you once pinned butterflies. Hear
That? Your wings against the glass fray

And fold. Dim perception sends you right
Instead of left. Your shoes slip on metal
Grates that lead away from home. Stark
Comfort comes with sanctuary, never near
Enough. They will not wait for day.

Winter Sonnet

The squirrel flicks
His rusty tail
At first sense
Of snow. Gathers sticks
And fluff from woody trails
While flakes preen & condense

In chimney clouds. Here
Is a woodpecker tapping on rough
Instruments of shredded bark
And rich sap, the only sound a clear
Staccato in metronome rebuff
Against the quiet & the dark

Of mid-December.
We stop to listen & remember.

Copyright © 2014 Meryl McQueen

Meryl McQueenMeryl McQueen ( is an American poet, novelist, and linguist. Her poetry has been published in Town Creek Poetry, Dunes Review, Clearfield Review, Phoebe, RiverSedge, and Yellow Moon, among others. Meryl's writing reflects a close affinity with nature, and the geographical dislocation of an international childhood spent in Africa and Europe. She now makes her home in Sydney, Australia with her husband and young son.

The Tower Journal
Spring/Summer 2014