Rival Super Powers

My secret super power is that I can tell when eyes

watch me from across a room

and yours bored into me as the pinot emptied

amid talk of third party co-pays and the sound of a sad man

leafing through old Vanity Fair issues. You weren’t

undressing me with your eyes, but dressing me:

nylons smoothed up my legs, the bra with the little pointless flower

snugged, you pull on my maillot, correct my pronunciation of maillot,

the red dress I discarded you restore, the leather jacket in the back

of my closet you rescue, clench the teeth of each zipper tight

knot the scarves, circle the skirts, pill the sweaters, hug the jackets,

pull my arms through vests, tie ribbons, stack the hats.

I’m wrapped like an international suitcase, I’m bigger than buffet,

a water buffalo of a woman, crashing conversations, no one can

come close to me until finally your wife says: Can I take your coat?

She’s onto the women at this party all in a sweat

as she trips around in a diaphanous apron,

her secret super power how a minute before the bell rings, she knows the bird is done.

At the Endless Awards Banquet

Here is some squash. Here is some water.

The MC has one joke, he milks like a cow.

Here are some flowers. Here are some forks.

Do not use them to stab people. Here is your coffee.

Drink it.


Here are the achievements of the honoree.

Here are the achievements of you. The first

grows larger, larger, like the world’s

largest cow. The size of a van. The size of

Tokyo at night.


The achievements of you have been stabbed.

with a fork. Your essence pours from tine-shaped holes,

in the colors of cold cream, burnt sienna, royal blue.

You haven’t wasted your life on William Duffy’s farm.

You’ve just wasted it.


The honoree invented Tokyo. They invented sky,

but lost the patent. Every squash in the ground gives hosannas

as the MC descends in a slow screwing motion.  And you, love!

You keep slipping me dirty notes, lip puckers and love winks, you for whom  

I gave up everything.


Merridawn Duckler is a poet, playwright, and prose writer from Portland, Oregon. Recent poetry in TAB: Journal of Poetry and Poetics (best of the web nomination), Fifth Wednesday Journal, Blast Furnace, Zone 3, International Psychoanalysis, Really System, Rivet Journal, Rogue Agent, Unbroken Journal, Nerve Lantern, forthcoming from The Offing, Blue Lyra, Free State Review, Yellow Chair Review. She was runner-up for the poetry residency at the Arizona Poetry Center, judged by Farid Matuk. Her manuscript was a finalist at Center for Book Arts and Tupelo Press. Recent prose in Poetica and humor in Defenestration.  She was a finalist for the 2016 Sozoplo Fiction Fellowship. Her play in verse was in the Emerging Female Playwright Festival of the Manhattan Shakespeare Project. Other plays have been performed in Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Valdez, Alaska. Fellowships/awards include Writers@Work, NEA, Yaddo, Squaw Valley, SLS in St. Petersburg, Russia, Southampton Poetry Conference with Billy Collins, others. She’s an editor at Narrative and at the international philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics

Copyright © 2016, Otis Nebula Press. All rights reserved.