One Poem by Todd Mercer

The Ghost of Ingenue

Ingenue ghosted from most parties
and other types of get-togethers,
not a fan of the Goodbyes chorus,
or the lagging hold-ups of those
nothing conversations that arise
when you’re beyond ready to go.
She can feel the running meter
of waiting taxis down in the street.
She would be right back in a sec,
to pick up this discussion. Ostensibly.
Ingenue was stepping to the next room
to greet other casual acquaintances,
or work associates. Except she’d duck out
the window, knew which fire escapes
functioned. Said she was out back
for a cigarette, this non-smoking escape artist.
She’s already two miles off, fading further
with a vector on the vanishing point.
As distant as possible from the sweaty
summer crush of close city spaces. Away
from the density of games and angles,
the too-muchness of someone else’s
blaring music, flashing colored lights.
By the time we missed her for sure
Ingenue was in another milieu,
out of radio range, floating through walls
if doors trapped her inside.


Todd Mercer writes from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was nominated for Best of the Net in 2018. Recent work appears in: Down in the Dirt, The Lake, Praxis and Star 82 Review.

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