Lynn Melnick

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Lynn Melnick

Lynn Melnick is the author of Landscape with Sex and Violence (YesYes Books, 2017) and If I Should Say I Have Hope (YesYes Books, 2012). 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


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


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

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