pale blue mercy


poems by

Sally Stewart Mohney

Poetry chapbook, 40 pages, $8 cover price

($5 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-417-8

Released: 2013

This title is part of Main Street Rag’s Limited Edition Author’s Choice chapbook series.




Sally Stewart Mohney
A native of Charlotte, Sally Stewart Mohney graduated from the University of North Carolina with an Honors degree in Creative Writing and Art History, and has taken graduate writing courses from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, The University of Florida, Georgia State University and Callanwolde. She has had short stories published in literary journals, as well as articles published in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. While a student at UNC, she was the recipient of the Jesse Rehder Prize-the University’s most prestigious writing award. She was a presenter at the 2009 Southern Women Writers Conference, and presented poems from this collection for the 2012 SWWC conference. Her career in Art History has included working for art appraiser Sigmund Rothschild in New York, as well as working as curator and coordinator in galleries and museums all over the country. After moving to Atlanta, she founded her own tutoring business.

Recommending Author’s Comment

pale blue mercy is a compelling collection of daring poems. Poetic power rests in Sally Stewart Mohney’s style–each poem stripped of excessive language–and in her fearlessness as a writer to bare the truth with emotional restraint. Haunting images are distilled from her refusal to look away from what she is learning about mortality through heart-rending, stark observations: So now, your mother’s head, a white plastic mask–/…. A London wax museum piece to be studied/or a Greek marble statue in sheer ecstasy of pure pain (“Spurs”). Tenderness prevails especially when Mohney touches on a mother’s longing to protect loved ones from harm and on the human need for comfort and relief from grief, made palpable in “Next May”: you’d like to not suffer a huge loss./You’d prefer to not tiptoe/and have to speak/to/strangers/at a sudden death/or lingering one./You’d like to pull out/beach towels/and/pure nestlings of warmth./And, never once, regret.

–Irene Blair Honeycutt


to cup the

the way you held
your babies’

Soft, floppy,
impossibly lovely
to touch.

Only missing
the sweet scalp scent:




can come
so suddenly
in the form of a seventeen-year old
face down on the bedroom floor.

Down you both descend
into the carnival vortex—
alone–yet together–but not grasping hands,

while the wild wet mess of
detritus flies past:

hair, wind, sock
bits of tainted bitten heart and milky warm marrow
dank shorts from the bin
one errant shoe
with swollen insides and
hanging laces
while the silent damp navy jacket
still tries to hang dry from one hook.

Soon the strangled, slow limbs
emerge-ragged, yet quiet.

still, grey driftwood
washed up on the orange muddy bend
of the lake

It Was So Good to See Her

It was so good to see her–
you hadn’t seen her
since she died.

She looked great.
You hadn’t seen her in
so long.
Her light hair was
curled under her ear.
And she had that
big smile on her face.
She stepped out of the
gift shop door
holding a throw pillow–
a cream linen,
as if to ask the price.

She was looking at the shopkeeper
on the porch
as you walked up.

Popping out of a door
in your dream
to take you home

If you would like to read more of Pale Blue Mercy by Sally Stewart Mohney, order it today.

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