Melanie Dunbar

Sunlight leans into the blinds and tablecloth left from our wedding I have nailed over the window for a curtain. The fabric is yellow and gold and brown, a pattern more fully described as “Byzantine”. I think we were then. The room, with its butter-colored walls, glows. A streak of sun peeks through an opening between the curtain and the window and illumines the black Madonna, an icon made from pieces of flattened straw. It hangs over the bed. From you. Her crown halo protects our frail bed from danger. I have a weakness for anything the color of lemons. A carnival vase with papyrus, you. If one was there, the other was too. We found each other every time— the Golden Age, Vienna. The Belle Epoch in Paris, in the American Southwest on a butte. We were on horseback and I wore white buckskin. We are starting to see the pattern, to seek each other out. I cannot travel fast enough and I don’t know where to look. You could be next to me, but I think I’d know it.

What It Was I Said

Burden the put you dare
second the only being of me
beach the walk go said I
see and kite a fly said I
sand yourself fuck you can
for ask didn’t I time
around be to anchor your
to want just I my shifts
man trash the ears my
better I’d early come
through sifting-late up stay
manuscripts of cake
batter the trying
mine and yours are that
with them total I one
how hear to want don’t I
after ingest I spiders
my climbing one find I

Nothing But Time
The doctor tends bonsai on the other side of the fence. His grass too steep to mow, he asks me to cut. I use scissors; rake the grass with my hand. The sun cuts a timeline. Acres to daydream, I see time is a kite. Long grass lisps, which fingers grasp and scissors snip. I feel antlers growing out of my head, or eggs about to split. For my head I make a nest; this grass, fescue, is best. I slip the nest between blades, which fingers slit. I rake with scissors. Between me and the doctor, the bonsai and the grass? I hear the snick of his clippers. I slip with scissors. With my antlers, I rake grass; nick fingers. A man stops to see if I’m fine. The doctor peeks through the fence. I point to time in the sky.

Melanie Dunbar tends flowers for a living. Her poetry can be found in the Silver Birch Press Where I Live series and Sweet series, escarp, Your Impossible Voice, Sweet: A Literary Confection and is forthcoming in Gargoyle. She lives in Southwest Michigan with her family and their rooster, Mr. Beautiful.
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