poem index


Lynn Melnick

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Lynn Melnick

Lynn Melnick is the author of If I Should Say I Have Hope (YesYes Books, 2012). She teaches poetry at the 92nd Street Y, is the social media & outreach director for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

by this poet


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


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

(fifteen and pregnant

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,


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