Atlas of Essential Monsters | Melissa Severin
Melissa is resisting the urge to write the single-line bio, "These days Melissa likes cookies and that's about it." Instead, Melissa would like to take a minute to tell you she went to New England College for the MFA she pays for monthly (Hi, Navient!). Nevertheless, it was invaluable because she got to work with mentors such as, Chard DeNiord, Paula McLain, Cecilia Woloch and Michael Waters. She thanks them very much now, in case she never did in the past.
There again, sweat
in the throat, bitter
buttons fastened, tongue
soaked, lambently new.
The body’s disbelief—
yaw of gait, delicate
tango—a withered pulp
perceptible. Marrow dark,
automatic as breath. You begin
to disintegrate while dancing.
The music like mold.
Sorrow song, the single crow
circles west, whip of wind and wing.
Atmosphere like eggshells cupped
in nervous palms. Tornado-
green sky woven to lifeline.
The smell of falling, taste
electric—salt, pennies, ash. Count
the cracks, bolts drawn down,
drowned in silt and dry husks. Roots
split, branches twisted, a peel of bark.
In your bones it approaches,
a freight train or foundry in the blood.
Dust-mouth, film caked
teeth, chalk-throated casualty.
Where’s the refuge, the earthsafe
purity? One wave short
of extinction, a degree from melting,
subduction and emergence, hot rocks
pillow and porous; the mudslide,
the avalanche. Omens only
animals heed. Sweat drops glide,
panic-wet, against fur. Intuition
guided, a gull girding the coast.
A baleful wind.
Honeysuckle soothes regret,
suspends grief. Star of anise
and acacia leaves for summoning.
Patience to hear a voice, dream.
Across the wall of stones,
from underfoot, a hum felt,
quaking. Ground warps damp
to dry, oak and elm sprout, fade.
Names smooth away and stone crumbles.
The dead do not touch here
but sing sleeplessly of their shift,
bone to bark, blood to straw.