Melissa writes about finding things in places she thought were empty. Her recent poems and essays can be found at the Feminine Collective, Prometheus Dreaming, and The Write Launch. She has work in several Poet’s Haven Digest Anthologies and her Poem, Your Phone Call, appeared in the Blue Nib 2017 Anthology. She’s a frequent contributor at The Blue Nib.
A Valid Exit
I won’t be dressed in wood or satin stored in an absurd container with a lid pumped full of toxic nonsense my face painted with false hopes my body laced with pretty little romantic lies. Reduce me to ashes bury me in the sky east of the sun west of the moon where there are no days just untraceable time and unpronounceable loss. I’ll be all of the colors and nothing at all. Everyone is so certain they’ve found a valid exit.
Everything Hard is Tangled
Old women pace the night and want endings to be clarifying but they know that a body is a thing to be obeyed not ordered my mechanical time. They know they cannot live in a constant state of refusal that healed doesn’t mean restored and that the past is not a morbidly rare treasure to cling to. They write of heartbeats resolutions and collapsing wave functions and try not to believe everything they think in the graying. They remember all of the people to write down who might be a dim recollection by next sundown and then indecipherable by the dark of night. They dream when awake to the calls of the ghosts of their children shifting in their sleep. They can stand to notice lonely things even when they get up for more water at 3 am and end up writing this because they know a body is a thing to be obeyed and everything hard is tangled.
Sheltered in that front bedroom, where
issued forth your soft voices on early mornings
and stormness nights and the scent of you lingered
with the echoes of your voices to
“knock off the giggling, girls”
was the quilt I clutched as my first thing to claim.
Even though it no longer smells of you,
it mantles me for
fadely times when I don’t know where
to haven or to haunt. On the basement landing
I wrapped myself in coffee shot
with Southern Comfort peace
burnt neighborhood leaves
Old Spice, and machine grease in the pockets
and along the sleeves
of your jean jacket hanging
on the third hook. To ease my
achest brokenly heart
I wandered in the attic lost until I found
your boxes of cards and notes
written to each other
when your memories were buckets rather
than sieves and nothing
or dim or faded like the stars at dawn.
Regret is like existing as half
of an unclaimed person, unbuilt,
crumbling for lack of foundation.
The last of anything is always
torturous and so permanent.
I needed something to build
my grief upon. The coal room sacrificed
one brick for me.
During our Touching of everything
you ever owned
there was deep mourning and light against the dark
on Forrest Sweet where I searched
for a way to hear
the echoes of my oldful childly intellections
after the soakly turnest days
suddenly stilled your
eighty-eight years of hardest love in that house.
Are the ghosting traces
of you near enough to hear
my sighful lively whispers of
birthdays past, anniversaries won,
and summoned pieces
of my notions that I could ever carry
all I took in my mourning on Forrest Sweet
where I often go on Zillow
to see what I left behind.