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  You could have a big dipper   

You Were There Both Times, Jerry by Karla Linn Merrifield


I woke a virgin every morning, many nights, imagined the whole psychedelic shebang, he long strange trips to be made in my vagina, my soft machine. Did I go truckin’ off to Buffalo? Or was it Albany, where my maidenhood was first gifted to that doodah man? It was ’70s res hall quad-suite grunge, roommate exiled to the common area for a stoner night, obsessively dropping the same 45 down the spindle. Beyond the closed door on a cot of jaunty squeak, I went full Deadhead to feel what tomorrow brings.

He didn't “take” it; I didn't “lose” it: my hymen

busted down, if not on Bourbon Street. Boy, wake me

in the morning with anything but Jerry Garcia. 2. For three years short of fifty, no lights shining on me, I gave no thought to the Grateful Dead, listening only incidentally: snippets in traffic, snatches over the Crab Shack’s PA, brief clips on a gas station’s piped sat channel, but—

one night he did take up the offering of my widow virginity as Alexa delivered, shuffled time-traveled tracks—Bang! On a king bed arrows of near and flashing marquees

Bingo! Holy banjo!

After, he asked

if Garcia would be included here. I obliged.

Been thinking you got to mellow slow.

Man, wake me up in the morning

with anything Jerry Garcia.


Karla Linn Merrifield has had 900+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies, with 14 books to her credit. Following her 2018 Psyche’s Scroll (Poetry Box Select) is the newly released full-length book Athabaskan Fractal: Poems of the Far North from Cirque Press. She is currently at work on a poetry collection, My Body the Guitar, inspired by famous guitarists and their guitars; the book is slated to be published in December 2021 by Before Your Quiet Eyes Publications Holograph Series (Rochester, NY).

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