Volume III (Summer 2008)
ISSN 1934-4324

Robin Merrill

Robin Merrill has her MFA from Stonecoast and her BS from Maine Maritime Academy.  A former Merchant Mariner, she traded seafaring for a teaching career.  Now her life is more adventurous.  Her poems have recently appeared in Margie, Flint Hills Review and The Spoon River Poetry Review.  Please visit her at



The Old Man of the Mountain

I thought “The Indians” had carved him
Right out of the side of the mountain. And
Somehow they had done this just for me.
To show me their God. Mountain. Rock.
Time. I had never known a man that old.
That grand. The only tourist attraction my
Family could afford, he was on the way to
Every vacation we took, “When’s The Old Man
Of the Mountain, Daddy?” “Is this the right moun-
Tain Daddy?” “Where is he?” And never have you
Seen a child so saddened by fog. I was the first in my
Family to notice the New Hampshire State Route
Signs borrowed his profile, and my fathe
Said I was the smartest little girl in New
England . I wrote about the old man in
My seventh grade extra credit journal and
In red pen, the teacher wrote, “Yes, Robin, you
Love him, but how does he make you feel?” Every
Year we drove by him. Every year he was there
Now time itself has fallen. I grieve as for a relative,
A friend, a God. I am grown. I can accept this.
Even things that aren’t supposed to change, change.
I can afford more extravagant tourist
Attractions for my children, but on our
Way there, I know I will look for him.
Every time.

: To view a PDF of this poem, which better captures its visual layout,
please click here.




His parents are cousins, but of five sons, he’s the only one

born slow. The rest left, made money to buy off shame.

A strapping man, he strides through town all day,

till the five-mile walk back to his room on his parents’ dark farm.

They despise the four who made them proud,

resent the one who stayed for being who they made him.

In forty-five years he hasn’t missed a morning service.

The pastor will not look him in the eye. When the congregation

shares praises, his hand flies up but he’s never called on.

He loves his town, always speaks, nods and calls you by name.

This is not a beautiful man. This is not a beautiful story.

But he is satisfied. Kisses his mom goodnight every night,

turns out all the lights, lies awake staring at a cold Maine sky.  


Dear Telephone,

I can be quite persuasive. What shall I offer?

What deal might entice? Money?

Just name your price. Favors? No problem.

I cook, clean, baby-sit, dog-sit, plant-sit, proofread,

type and hem. I lug firewood and mow lawns.

I do pedicures and deep tissue massage.

Something I can get you? Herbal tea, ice water,

a blanket? Here’s the remote. Would you like

your pillows fluffed? No! Wait! Don’t get up!

Sex? Okay! Tell me how you like it!

Look. I’m out of time and low on pride.

Just ring, damn you. Just ring. Just decide.