Poem Of The Week

We continue our new weekly feature with a new poem by Melissa Bates, a newcomer to the open mike at Stone Soup Poetry.


Tonight, I knew
this is where
the dead and the dying go.
So I took a step back,
crouched down
into the black
crescent of your shadow,
steadied my arms,
waited for your fall.

I knew in the way
I used to love
the slowing
of my own pulse,
How even the blue
of my vein
became both beautiful
and dangerous
under moonlight,
How silver flat blades
tasted like candy
underneath my tongue,
How blood was the only
proof of potency,

Knew in the way
I used to catch sight
of myself in strange bathroom stalls,
arms curled around porcelain,
slick forehead lightening smack
against toilet seats
with each involuntary seize
of my body,

Maybe this is why
I wanted to slip
my fingers underneath
your ribs,
lift you right off the ground,
scream something
about cracks
and time
and life
needing to be more
than just a habit,
do something other than
listen to your breath leak
like air from a tire,
a slow hiss
before the final pop.

See, tonight,
I saw you
in the mirror,
parchment paper thin skin
merely draping over bones,
head hanging down,
hair the color of
Scotch whiskey spilling
over egg breasts,
and I knew.

--Melissa Bates