Losing the Narrative

Lynn Melnick
A shattered bottle tore through my hand last month and split 
a vein until every finger was purple and I couldn’t
 
make even a tentative fist. I used the other hand to indicate
 
I’m okay. 
 
How unwise I am, how polite in a crisis.
In triage, an overheard photo of someone’s lover 
 
almost 3000 miles west made me seize with longing 
when I spied a palm tree in the background.
 
I understand what it says about me 
that my body lustfully wishes to place itself where it was never safe.
 
I have put enormous energy into trying to convince you I’m fine and
 
I’m just about there, no? 
 
Besides, decades on, poorly healed bones help me to predict rain!
though it’s true I like to verify weather
 
with another source because I tend not to believe myself.
I’ve been told repeatedly that I don’t understand plot but
 
it would be a clever twist, wouldn’t it, if in the end 
I realize it’s me who does me in.
 

More by Lynn Melnick

Poem Entering the Apple Valley Target

Into the fluorescent rough country
headlong into bulks of flesh

impatient to outspend me

and who wouldn’t fold real quick
under the weight of America’s sales and specials.

I believed then I didn’t

that I was different than I am
in my own skin in this infinity

mirror, instructed such
to seduce myself, to go on.

I am sorry

about the space I take up
about the panic

running around my aspect and my hunger

although it’s nothing

these racks of acrylic winter apparatus
won’t dazzle out of my head.

I’ll take several. I’ll take fistfuls.

I’ll tuck it into my mouth at night to keep me quiet.

 

About this poem:

"I wrote this poem because I find myself terribly overwhelmed by the experience of shopping, by all the stuff and all the people, and all the people in a frenzy over all the stuff. I get confused and I can’t breathe and I can barely remember who I am or what I want. And then I buy something I don’t need."

Lynn Melnick

Landscape with Happily Ever After

Near midnight I’m held
hostage to the hazy upshot in the corner

velvet near a laced up tree and curious how I got here.

What a crowd! I think
and I think I should hoard my stash in my shoe.


Did you catch the census takers trying to autocorrect
the shelterbelt out of my history

when meanwhile

I’ve been fending off elements
since I first showed up at this latitude so

I don’t trust easy.


In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
you ask me outside

where the music dims
against the complicated bramble

and I love how the moon

is gilding the rusted basketball hoop in the driveway
and bouncing off the sheen of the rubber tree

and onto this fable
in a city that bleeds its saline soil

into another difficult year.

Landscape with Clinic and Oracle

Maybe you’re not the featherweight champ
of all the cutthroat combat sports

(fifteen and pregnant
again)

but you’d convert your ring corner
into a slaughterhouse

before you’d inquire after human kindness.


In the humdrum flare outside the clinic
you wait for a ride, feel the spill at the tipping point

trickle down your inner thigh
as you bask in the post-industrial particulate

on your skin, ash
into a jasmine pot’s bituminous anchorage

so tacky it glows in a habitat that spent your body
long before it finished growing.

    
     Lynn! they lied to you

don’t you know?
Your womb will be the first thing to heal.

What you smell is pleasure, not the rot of the thing
amid the waste.

You will have babies.
You will write poems about flowers that turn on in darkness.
 

Related Poems

Dear P. [If you are]

If you are     like me and can     only see the horizon

that unreachable     don’t know that want     sheds and

grows and     sheds and     grows     please don’t

keep trying               the outline     is fine find a closer

aisle  pull the cans and boxes     from the shelves  so

you can   eat   so you can feed on likeness     anything

is possible but   the possible isn’t always     foldable

it’s okay to not spin the     diamond   that begs for your

finger it’s okay to   reach   behind you   allow your clothes

to   snag onto   air   to hide in   time    to exist in

the stars  to believe that awards   signify   nothing it is

okay to watch the birds in the   ficus tree clutter  the

branches each season   leave    their waste   and let

your hands be     hands    and the   wings be   wings