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Poem-A-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 200 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary by the poets. The series highlights classic poems on weekends. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is now distributed via email, web, and social media to 350,000+ readers free of charge and is available for syndication by King Features.

Dear Melissa—

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, May 6, 2016.
About this Poem 

Melissa is the name of the young woman I once was and while it’s true that she never left me, I often wonder if I left her. This poem is one way of saying thank you, Melissa, for being a body my death could die into.”
—TC Tolbert

Dear Melissa—

TC Tolbert

a curve billed thrasher
is cleaning its beak on the ground—
we are closer now than ever—sitting
in shadow—I never want to scare
anyone—not really—I have a friend
who loves people who come out
suddenly—in the dark—
                                    pleasure
is the same distance as pain from here—
that’s my skin on your sweater—both hands
stripped now—I know I am someone
to you I am entirely—practicing
Spanish on the computer—gesturing to
the neighbor instead of speaking—
                                    to sharpen
the body is never an accident—someone
I know I am not—letters are inseparable
from loss—moving what can be still
moved—one is sweeping the mouth—
what ever isn’t skin—take it off—

Copyright © 2016 by TC Tolbert. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 6, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by TC Tolbert. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 6, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.