To the Kingdom Within


Sunset in the Woods

When they ask me how was my journey this winter,

I will tell them I met an elf in a hemlock forest

one half-mile off the beaten path

in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains.


I will tell them the truth about Georgianus leprechauns

shuffling through the white pine needles, whispering 

back to the rapids, of spring on the Toccoa River

and peeking up over at me from a granitic outcropping,

winking just as you’d expect.


He was dressed in pale lichen green with oak-leaf epaulettes,

had wings, mind you, of ferns, and wore a bright orange

mushroom cap. He did not tip his hat for me;

he beckoned with a finger from within his foggy grove

just over the Fannin County line.


And before he said a word to me, he hooted to the owls

and a parliament of them who-who’d in return in consultation:

let her in.


                                             -in memoriam Beau Cutts

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).