Grief’s Geographical Gigabytes – Karla Linn Merrifield

O, dastardly techno deed
I perpetrate this morning:
hacking into Jimmy’s gmail.
Actually, it’s a piece o’ cake.
He labeled a desktop shortcut moses001.
The Google logo is a giveaway.
And from there – Bingo! – directly
to jameskarlmerri@ on the far side
of cyberspace.

Of 642 messages, only a few dozen
find me browsing familiar territory,
our common ground limited to Facebook, click,
Classmates, click, Amazon, click, Walmart,
click, online banking, click, click,
photography tutorials, click, click, click.
Easily, dispassionately, I delete all
the OkCupid and Smartdate match-ups,
Even dying of liver disease, he was literally
seeking virtual playmates. Go figure.

But from there forward – O, Horrors! –
I enter terra incognito of paranoid extremism,
my brother’s ultra-ultra-right-wing whacko world.
Holy Palin, Beck, Bachmann and Paul!
My brother, the Tea Party freak revealed.
At my political antipodes, Jimbo turns up
anti—anti-abortion, anti-immigration,
anti-homo—and NRA all the hyperbolic way.

Why am I surprised to so vividly see
his was an angry red planet in another galaxy?

Karla Linn Merrifield has had 1000+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has 15 books to her credit. Following her 2018 Psyche’s Scroll (Poetry Box Select) is the full-length book Athabaskan Fractal: Poems of the Far North from Cirque Press. Her newest poetry collection, My Body the Guitar, recently nominated for the National Book Award, was inspired by famous guitarists and their guitars and published in December 2021 by Before Your Quiet Eyes Publications Holograph Series (Rochester, NY). She is a frequent contributor to The Songs of Eretz Poetry Review. Web site:; blog at; Tweet @LinnMerrifiel

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