3 POEMS by Melody Wilson

Melody Wilson teaches in Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in Visions International, Triggerfish Critical Review among other journals. Upcoming work will be in Briar Cliff Review, Whale Road Review, and Tar River Poetry.


The hens busy themselves

with weather, women’s society

before a brittle winter sun. 

Up they down the ladder

and in the house and out,

and through the plucking,

clucking they poise

against a friable sky. 

And through that blue,

down and swoops back up;

higher stands surveying

a sky-bird, eagle: 

haughty, but loneward.

She rises and falls, soars and dives,

tethered in her circle

between two firs

a league apart.

The hens don’t discuss her. 

They may not know,

and they surely don’t understand.

But she knows and sees—

that this winter, like last,

a million geese will startle and upward

through the cracking landbound,

and warmward, week after week,

shift after shift, calling derision

and joy and envy and Goodbye!

One week, or maybe if we’re lucky—

two, she sees the swans stroke impossibly

across the sky

warmward as well—

“Is that a swan? 

Oh, I think those are swans,”

and they’re gone,

and she flies her league,

calling cadence, alone now

except the hens

and me. 

Physical Geography

My navel is a hole

in the center of the desert.

The skin stretches out

dusty and dry,

covers all the miles

between Cajon Pass

and Tehachapi.

Time fashions topography—

and the ripples that cross my belly

shift and slip

like blown sand.

An abdominal arroyo marks

one decade,

a constellation of scars

the next.  There are

ridges and basins

and rolling hills.

My skin barely holds

the desert in,

anticipating the moment

I can stretch out

in the shadow of a Joshua,

press my cheek

against the warm, clean

sand and listen for the

seismic beating

of my heart.


I had seen the poster

on the girls’ room wall—

Junior High, Italian Stallion.

Ran in and giggled—the line

long through swinging doors: 


I thought it beautiful,

such architecture—

but no more beautiful

than my father’s arm,

no more specific

in purpose or intent.

So it surprised me—

among paint cans and boxes

beneath a pretty blonde boy

on a Mississippi floor,

“Storage only,

nobody down here,”

when his baby sister

cracked the door

and ran cackling—

that anybody cared.

The connection

between the poster

and my body

was not clear.

A termite stick,

I used it to pry into places,

to catch quick and sticky things

like love and promises.

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