Girls Named for Flowers | Melissa Queen

$ 7.00


Melissa Queen studied poetry at Ohio University and Western Washington University. Her poems have appeared in the journals Green Mountains Review, Hobart, RATTLE, Spoon River Poetry Review, and others. Additional work in other genres has appeared in the journals Alimentum, Quarter After Eight, and The Rumpus. She lives in eastern Washington where she teaches at Walla Walla University and Walla Walla Community College. In addition to writing and teaching, she also skates roller derby under the alias “Queen Greatest Hits.” Check out her work at



At First Rain

We were vultures there among the sage,
coyotes who hunted neighborhood pets in packs.
We made nests there among the broken glass
and groves of Russian olives.

We smiled at the sun. Our teeth
were made of magnifying glass. Under the moon,
moths bounced in headlights, the stereo howled,
and empty bottles scraped across truck beds.

I taste the film of him on my teeth.
His mouth was a rain barrel—
damp dust on his tongue,
dried salt in the corner of his mouth.

This late afternoon the wind whispers rumors
across wheat grass that the pack
runs just over the ridge,
their shadows cast down on the valley.

Far off across the landscape, the clouds
stretch like grey hide
from the earth to the sky. I can smell him—
his hair brought down with the dust at first rain.