May 2010

Lynn Melnick


This marks an author's first online publication Lynn Melnick's poetry has previously appeared in Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, LIT, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She has poetry forthcoming in A Public Space. She lives in Brooklyn.

The More Easily Broken    

A whole world that I might feel
     virulent for my place in it.
Every splintered gotten ornament,

each chapel holding of a wrist
     with passion. You were fading
when I met you, set in brush

with glow on your garment,
     blinking at flash with the other eyes.
I saw you one month

and not again. Kept your gray envelopes
     like I kept nothing else,
neatly in cardboard, slammed

shut in cabinets and took and took
     again to the rooms I found myself
undone in, frayed with worry, brittle

with hindsight. A whole world.
     I sent picture cards. We wrote
what the hell but would not

know each other. I'm stomping my feet.
     You thought I was always
that furious, always this merciful.

When I arrived with a bag
     in your sometimes city I knew
no one, but you had said to me

water-locked and artifice. That I might feel.
     You had talked of affection.
I am now so plainly what covers space

I don't know how I never knew it,
     how I was ceaselessly sure
I did not exist. This may not be my life

as imagined, but not unbelievable.
     Not practice bells but bells
and holy glass. Me, what you said.

Not any angel lost in smoke, eyes
     common with it. With you,
what you said. How you died having never

hurt me. How you never came back.



In Which Our Heroine's Past Is Recounted and Future Foretold    

Well hello, you-animated, angry, motionless
      but for your mouth, which purses

and opens, simulating what a mouth does. Once again

you have lost yourself ahead of a large glass.
      Your torment stays dead, a suicide,

and you have reinvented your hips
      and what they do in water, on land, on impact,

at this boulevard bar, the wide lanes of traffic
      between you and a bus depot, and so anywhere.

Where am I? you think, But aren't you always
      in love? If by strange turn you mean

how you erased him completely then things
      took a strange turn, took on a gloom to replace

all the intoxicating fun you hadn't

been having. You think. We tried not wanting
      to break any heart, not wanting to be

You think, Matter has hit my body
      but the pitching arm is buried.

And yet the great Over of this great experiment
      goes on rising from the tides, mutated

and reeking. Look forward, chickadee—
      In at least three countries you can name, you will be in love.

You will visit five formidable churches, kneeling

down in a modest skirt to fondle inlaid stone;
      the droplets sprung from the sinking of a coin

will splash your chest just enough to remind you
      you're getting warm. When he goes on

without you, it's a lonely few minutes, but he always
      comes right back.

When he is done, you are done, and you, he.
      So bottoms up, chickadee, you should really

get out more. Somewhere in this town
      your torment's bones rattle and spin, sequence a chain

that's yours if you want it. Once again
      you have lost yourself behind a panic of fingers.

Your fingers smell like saltwater. You've had a crush
      on saltwater since before your torment

slapped your faultless mouth. You shouldn't get out more,

your mouth is sullied, a threat to itself, hooked
      on the inhale, a pain upon breathing.

Somewhere in this town, your torment's bones

await you, gorgeous from a distance, afraid to stop
      talking, better than you remember.



Lynn Melnick: Poetry
Copyright ©2010 The Cortland Review Issue 47The Cortland Review