“Megan Merchant’s Grief Flowers exposes with unsettling accuracy what loss would look like if we could subject it to an x-ray or place it under a microscope; its irregular divisions, its unforeseen growth, its pain emanating from ever-shifting and unpredictable locations. These poems are most alive and present in their absence, in the spaces Merchant skillfully creates between what we are grateful for, what we will never have, and what we have lost. Through language delicious and disruptive, the body and its many failings are compared to the natural world—how it protects and betrays us, nurtures us with hope and herniates our hearts at the turn of seasons, kills
its leaves and splits its trees: ‘… the botanist said the seeds will sprout, but might /never bloom’, the author discloses when trying for another child, before the title
poem grieves another baby’s loss while still inside its mother: “I know already, if it does not pass— / slip into the toilet to be flushed, / they will lace my veins with a
syringe / of dreams and clean house.” What we know of the unspeakable nature of grief is made manifest in this collection, and laces our veins with visions of what we
cannot conjure in our own lives.
—Amy Strauss Friedman, author of Gathered Bones are Known to Wander and the forthcoming The Eggshell Skull Rule