Melissa Bobe holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation from Queens College of the City University of New York. In 2011, she was a writer-in-residence at the Louis Armstrong House Museum Archives. She founded and taught a creative writing workshop for teens at a public library for six years, and has taught nonfiction prose writing at Queens College. She is currently pursuing a PhD in English literature at Rutgers University, but still calls New York home. Her work has appeared in Phantom Kangaroo and Steel Toe Review, and you can keep up-to-date with her at Don’t Let Me Burn the Coffee, Emily Dickinson (http://burningthecoffee.blogspot.com/).
“softly as they leave” you
in in in __
Obscured, she //bound/, was somnambulant in her wooden bed. His approach, slow(sustained—) up [to the open grave.
Will you join me in a pas de nocturne?
One grave, one shrouded, one treading, one box. A body//a body. Two. There are two. There are absolutely two in [this duet; it is a duet.
(Can you trace the places
where the hands graze the sweat and
breathing flesh? Can you find the
shadow in the shadow in the empty
and abandoned grave? Can you hear
the tap and turn, sinew under
suspended skin? If you can, you are
surely watching someone else’s pas
I saw in miniature, a thousand times repeated in front of me, like some carnival mirror that fragments into multiplicity, my own self, but each self was different//distinctive::
like so many
perfumed ants, but___
no magnifying glass here
to entice an incendiary perspective
(Chorus) voices) of this voice;
I heard (all) pitches, tones, timbres
was I strangled [cutshort
asphyxiation (accidental via dolor)
was I bubbling, flooding
deluge, say you cataclysm, say I
my fury, my whispers, my bewildered murmurs, my moans of orgasm, my chattering broken voice in the cold my incredulity at the institutionalized and coddled prejudices I have had the retro- passé- distressingly contemporary-experience of raging against my honey-dipped chuckle reserved for when a child says something dear in the dark silence of a theater and I remember why it is I love children even though I don’t wish to produce any while I still have the right to abstain from a politically mandated broadening mutating of my innards
They have my perfumes, my movement, my expressions [facial, uttered
Gathered at my feet, I was multiplication and profusion
it occurred to me that there was no undoing what had been generated that I would be this many forever in perpetuum and that my portrait would be strange if ever painted