Saturday, February 22, 2014

María Melendez

María Melendez [Poetry Society of America]

from María Melendez's Flexible Bones:

The Fifth Apparition: Reno

Out a casino basement like a Stone Age
mamacita on a suited man's arm, terra cotta
silk dress with only one shoulder strap, wide
like a hide curving off her back and down
across her ostrich-egg breasts —

Dare we number the feathered angels
and bare devils revolving in a waltz
on that slick shoulder ball?

(Faced with a modest blue
cotton shift, we might guess
her fate lay in giving, we'd
associated motherly verbs: bathe,
mollify, hallow, salve.) To hell

with egg-shaped, she's nobody's —
in that owning-it-all look
she tosses at the streets, in the
tall spikes tethered to her feet —

she offers no succor, no
slack mud to plow, she's out
to kill sweet things
that eat Her in pieces,
to kick in any
scavenging teeth.

Love Song for a War God

Every part of you contains a secret language.
Your hands and feet detail what you've done.
Your appetite is great, and like the sea,
you constantly advance, lunge after lunge.

Unlike my brother sleeping in his chair,
you do not take reality with ease.
Your pain builds up its body like a cloud
rotating a collage of hot debris.

O Teacher! We have learned that all men's tears
are not created equal. We were wrong
to offer flames to quell your fires. Still,
I must dismember you inside this song.

Your mouth's dark cave awaits Victory's kiss;
blood is the lid your calm eyes never lift.

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