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About this Poem 

“Unusual for me, I wrote the title to this poem before I wrote the poem. I wanted to try out some optimism! In most of my ‘Landscape’ poems, California’s flora is the backdrop to various horribleness. But here I wanted it to be a kind of antidote to that horribleness.”
Lynn Melnick

Landscape with Happily Ever After

Near midnight I’m held
hostage to the hazy upshot in the corner

velvet near a laced up tree and curious how I got here.

What a crowd! I think
and I think I should hoard my stash in my shoe.


Did you catch the census takers trying to autocorrect
the shelterbelt out of my history

when meanwhile

I’ve been fending off elements
since I first showed up at this latitude so

I don’t trust easy.


In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
you ask me outside

where the music dims
against the complicated bramble

and I love how the moon

is gilding the rusted basketball hoop in the driveway
and bouncing off the sheen of the rubber tree

and onto this fable
in a city that bleeds its saline soil

into another difficult year.

Copyright © 2014 by Lynn Melnick. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2014 by Lynn Melnick. Used with permission of the author.

Lynn Melnick

Lynn Melnick

Lynn Melnick is the author of Landscape with Sex and Violence (YesYes Books, 2017). She is a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and serves on the Executive Board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

by this poet

poem
A shattered bottle tore through my hand last month and split 
a vein until every finger was purple and I couldn’t
 
make even a tentative fist. I used the other hand to indicate
 
2
poem

Maybe you’re not the featherweight champ
of all the cutthroat combat sports

(fifteen and pregnant
again)

but you’d convert your ring corner
into a slaughterhouse

before you’d inquire after human kindness.


In the humdrum flare outside the clinic
you wait for a ride,

2
poem

Into the fluorescent rough country
headlong into bulks of flesh

impatient to outspend me

and who wouldn’t fold real quick
under the weight of America’s sales and specials.

I believed then I didn’t

that I was different than I am
in my own skin in this