Melissa Ginsburg


I am great and blue and standing still,
alone until the summer—long away, 
through cold and over ponds—
water pushing small dawns
apart in quartz-bright waves, in swash
and undertow. My knees are fixed
forever straight. The elements fly false
in the tuck-legged sky.

In shallow pools in winter, needles
floating can be read from high enough
above their slack they make a kind of map.
The needle trees flash messages. Tides
flatten minnows. Rocks they smooth
and loosen. Us who flap our wings,
who never left the marsh’s muck. The map
and us is for the sky, that surface
laid above itself, pine-struck.



I burned with hot oil
a girl I was
baking. I was no
pretty one.
I made the children

go outside and take
their bangs and plaits.
Summer was green
and closed as the past, as

There were many. I was hungry.
Fan blew a sugar
storm over the kitchen.
It scattered crystalline
new windows. That’s how

I made you outside.
Well you were a young.
The cake was lopsided
and I wanted danger
in the form of deep feeling:

adulthood of accidents, many
and scattered. I wanted it
and I had it. Splotched I was
a poison: patterned
and blistered, continuously burning

the houses I scattered
outdoors of you.
I skinned you, my daughter,
my no one. I gave you
a corner slice.