Poets

Search more than 3,000 biographies of contemporary and classic poets.

Melissa Crowe

Melissa Crowe is the author of Dear Terror, Dear Splendor (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019). She’s the editor of Beloit Poetry Journal and coordinator of the MFA program in creative writing at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she teaches courses in poetry and publishing.

By This Poet

1

When We’re in Bed and You Take Out Your Mouth Guard, I Know It’s On

Like when, seventeen, I’d slide into your Beetle and you’d head
out of town, summer daylight, and parked among the furrows
of some field, you’d reach for the wool blanket. I knew you’d
maneuver then into the cramped quarters between passenger seat
and glove box, blanket over your head and my lap, where you’d
sweat and sweat until I cried out. Or further back, first winter
of our courtship, nearing curfew, when we’d “watched” Predator again
from the Braden’s lovers’ row, you’d slow to a halt at the last stop sign
before my house. I knew we’d linger under the streetlamp’s acid glow,
and you’d ask if I had to go home. Yes, I’d say, I better, soon—but I
knew you wouldn’t hit the gas, not for the longest time, three minutes,
five, and snow falling and the silent streets carless, I’d lift my top,
you’d unzip my jeans and treat the expanse of soft skin between shirt hem
and underwear like sex itself, your worshipful mouth, my whole body lit
from within and without. Or even further back, how I knew by the first
electric touch of our fingers in that dark theater, like a secret handshake—
I know you, I need you, like an exchange of life force between two
aliens from planets never before joined across the cold, airless terror
of space, that it was on, that it was on and on and on, forever.