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Stage Directions

by S.B. Merrow


A Camp Skit in Five Parts Wherein

A White Woman Plays Dead To See Where It Gets Her




Part I.  Wherein The Lion Lays Down with the Lamb


We Have a Late Breakfast of Potatoes

With Some Kind of Fowl Wrapped in Pale Cabbage

Funny That Today The Food is So White!

Two Campers Argue About Politics,

Resolve Their Differences By Playing Guitar

One of Them is a Big Deal in Russia She Says

But It’s Summer and We’re Here To Disengage




Part II.  Wherein I Go for a Dip in the Lake


10 AM  Gray Sky Wild Windy Whitecaps

A Floating Brown Basket Shaped Like a Ship

Sinks Within a Stone’s Throw of the Shore

I Watch it Go Down

Jump In to Rescue Swim Towards the Bottom

The Ship’s Dark Shadow — and Bones — Scattered

Across the Lake Floor     Broken Legs Jaws

Horse Heads and     Other Skulls

All of Them White


(Surfacing, Breathe)


Part III.  Wherein Our Rickety Docks Have All Been Rebuilt


Of Impervious Lumber on the Roughest of Footings

Strange Men Talking Guard the Piers and

Block my Emergence from the Water

Keeping Head Down Thighs Tight

I Lift and Move Their Arms Aside

Squeeze Past Dripping Wet

My Skin All White




Part IV.  On the Main Path


The “New Crowd” Threatens Us with AR-15s

A Friend With a Stare Warns Me to Stand Still

Resisting I Run and Am Stopped By Someone

Who Shoots Through a Pillow and Misses Me

Just Play Dead and See How It Goes

I Crawl to the Edge of a Staircase


Where A Woman With Rifle Notices

Innocently I Play Dead Again

But She Lays Her Hand on My Back Until




Part V. My Face White with Fear I Have to Breathe


Go Ahead Play Dead — and See Where It Gets You




About the Author:

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S. B. Merrow lives in Baltimore where she writes poems and repairs concert flutes for professional musicians. Recently, her work has been accepted by SalamanderNimrod International JournalTishman ReviewGyroscope Review, and other journals. The Naugatuck River Review selected two poems, as finalist and semi-finalist, in their 2018 contest. Her chapbook, ‘”Unpacking the China,” was the winner of QuillsEdge Press’ 2016 chapbook competition.


Archive, The River

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