Melissa Severin (Chicago, USA): Poem Explaining...


There’s a pattern to this: targets
overflow with arrows, a flood in need
of fields, a mouth wide, black and full of steam,

a coffee cup without coffee, an oil slick
confined to puddles under streetlights, the future
ice cubes still water in the tap.

Here’s a hint: take the eclipse
and anniversaries—divide by three—
steal salt from blood,

somewhere there are tonsils to scavenge
and mason jars buried in front yards,
full of doldrums, beat back

bells that chime better names for old lovers,
use the card catalog and consult a surgeon
who’s taken a shot, one who’s been stabbed. At least once

practice being suffocated by stars,
wear a snake as a charm
bracelet and break thin ice; swim underneath.

The solution’s mortared in crowned molars,
in the full tone of drop-D, songs without words
to sing, a look when no one’s looking,

Ouija boards and wish bones. For clarity,
look at a wrist, the pulse twitch
of veins, vibrations, rivers

dammed by skin. Could it be more obvious?
It’s in the hand, the palm of the hand,
hands were made for this:
hold on.

© Melissa Severin 2007