Alexa Mergen

Child of the Wandering Sea

Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

                        –Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Chambered Nautilus

 

At the corner of Alta and Sunflower street signs hum
like conch shells in sagey wind. The last water receded
an eon ago: runs deep beneath your feet if at all.

The sound sings your first trip west, whipping over desert
in a silver bus. Shells along shelves in shops at Fisherman’s Wharf.
You held pink rims to your ear understanding then the nautilus

your teacher silenced without definition. Didn’t he know
a poem’s tones seep through pages when pressure builds?
You returned after seafaring to the desert wind,

wind like the ocean’s. The shacks are
sinking beam by board into brown sand:
a flag pole clanks in a wide lot:
air pulls forth what was forgotten.


Alexa Mergen lived for two years in the high desert town of Yucca Valley where she walked dirt roads, admired the Milky Way, and listened to wind. She grew up in Washington, DC, making frequent visits to family in Nevada and Utah. Alexa studied Literature and Writing at George Washington University, UC Berkeley, and UC Irvine. Her poems and essays appear in numerous publications. She currently lives in Sacramento where she leads workshops in poetry and memorizing poems, and works as a freelance editor.