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Melissa Studdard: Three Poems

Melissa Studdard is author of the poetry collection I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast and the novel Six Weeks to Yehidah. Her poetry, fiction, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in a wide range of publications, including Poets & Writers, Tupelo Quarterly, Psychology TodayPleiades, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day. In addition to writing, she is the host of VIDA Voices & Views, an editor for American Microreviews and Interviews, and a professor for Lone Star College System.

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The Sudden Violence of Light

***

Blood of the Lamb That Lived

Because she made us want to kill ourselves,
we signed up for carpool, and we told ourselves
we didn’t want to die. But we knew the car was really
on fire, and we were headed towards a cliff
that was looking pretty good.
That’s when she did the mermaid thing:
swam our injured bodies to the sky with a laugh.
She was all fin and feather,
wave and cloud. She was all holystrange and radiant.
We swear she was walking on water,
walking through fire,
laughing at eggshells.
We swear, if we sat in that car long enough,
burning, we’d find the road
to grace.

***

Microcosm in C Minor

Woman in a yellow dress.
She reads the library of the soul.
It is the sound of branches talking,
which is also the sound of wind chimes,
which is mainly the voice of god
translated by wind. You can find it anywhere:
Some kid smashing a toy truck into a door.
He says BAM, and his lungs are filled with it.
You can find it on a sailboat trip
into a new dimension. Or by crossing your legs
over the zafu, a flight inward. It could be
a strange power in the woman, in the dress.
A flutter of marigold hem. An incantation.
Maybe she’s been gathering shells
and stones for the stewpot. Maybe she wears
dark crystals around her neck, drinks tequila
from a paper cup. But these are all answers
to questions I shouldn’t ask. Death is coming.
And she has valid complaints. She says
I have loved too much, too deeply, too long
that thing which could only hurt me.
And that thing is called my life.
And my life is the lie
I’d like to believe a little longer.

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