Sitting Ducks | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Sitting Ducks

when i was at the roots pride dance, i couldn’t help but get paranoid a couple times that we’d all be sitting ducks in this giant room, should someone decide to take up their problem with us. it kept me from having fun for a little bit.

− Cicil Marlique

Whoever you are, trying to make us afraid:
We’re used to it.

I don’t believe it was Islam
or the Middle East

or any particular thing
by itself. God was always

telling someone to stone us,
even who kissed us goodnight.

I know you

want me to think someone
is coming for me,

but I know you’re
already here.

We all live here,

even though there seem 
to be uncrossable lines,

it’s all the same shootable country,
cameras and guns pointed everywhere.

My fear is a garden bed
full of vegetable resurrection

& revolutionary flowers
& I love my fear

especially when it tells me
the truth about you.

— RB Mertz

RB Mertz lives in Fineview, on the North Side of Pittsburgh. Her poems have appeared in Drunken Boat, Bath House, DIAGRAM and elsewhere. Poems can be found at, where you can also hear Mertz on the radio. You can view and purchase her visual art/iconography at Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on WESA 90.5 FM.

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