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IR Online Poetry: “Portrait of a Boy” by Katarina Merlini

     for MP

The ruined illusion of a body held
together by threads: dark grey T-shirts would catch
on black metal surface bars. Forced removal,
a night spent on prescription Xanax, twin
scars sit just on top of well-defined pectorals.
Edges sharp as sullen swords, a two-winged
collarbone flows into an unremarkable neck
(neither elegant nor plain). Then, an unassuming
jawline, overly full lips—I say feminine,
he will insist shapely. A rounded nose, snub,
the septum piercing would catch on my nostril
and hold our faces close. Eyes, disappointing
in color and shape. Hair kept long to shelter
soft cheeks. The portrait of a boy lost in transition.


Katarina Merlini is a poet, writer, and alleged human being who studies screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-10-41-01-pmEnglish and Psychology at the University of Michigan. When she’s not dressing her dog up in thrifted sweaters or tending to her windowsill cactus collection, she enjoys working as a mentor for local LGBTQ+ and at-risk youth.