Issue > Poetry
Merit O'Hare

Merit O'Hare

Merit O'Hare, originally from Pittsburgh, has had her poetry featured in The Portland Review, The Potomac Review and Mad Poets Review as well as on Sirius Radio and at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. Merit received her BA in English at Dickinson College and her MA from Columbia University. She currently teaches in the greater New York City area.

One Glove

Walking in the park, sometimes,
my mother would suddenly stop,

spying something stark
on the wet pavement
wallpapered yellow with leaves—
then bending to collect it, a human object

a child-sized
knit glove, black, limp with rain.

The air was so thick with impending autumn
that our voices hung on it, suspended.

She'd make a noise, oh

as if she'd found a baby
bird, or one of the blue eggs
the migrating robins
laid in our hanging geraniums
in June each year, nestled
under the leaves
like a forgotten name—

oh a breath
escaping the body, sharp,

and the way she lingered over the glove,
touching the fingertips, delicate, absent,

was the way she fingered the folds of dresses
on racks in the children's section
of department stores: lace or cotton,
with or without bows, and the matching
headband—oh, she'd sigh.

They'd cut out her ovaries
with a surgeon's knife.  Then the uterus,
twenty years later,
because there was a tumor inside.

I was four, motherless,
when she married my father
and began to dress me.

My mother always carefully folded
whatever she found.  
She wrung it dry,
cleaned off the dirt,
smoothed the folds.  

Then she left it
somewhere visible,
on a bench, or a fire hydrant,
so that whoever had lost it
would be able to find it—

the glove on a fence post
sticking up, fingers outstretched,
from a distance like a small hand
waving goodbye.


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