Monday Jul 22

StuddardMelissa Melissa Studdard is the author of the poetry collection I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast and the young adult novel  Six Weeks to Yehidah. A short film of the title poem from I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast was an official selection for the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. Her short writings have appeared in a wide variety of journals, magazines, blogs, and anthologies, such as Psychology Today, The Guardian, Southern Humanities Review, and Poets & Writers. In addition to writing, she serves as an editor for American Microreviews and Interviews and the executive producer and host of VIDA Voices & Views for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.


I did not want to leave
two teens
stuck in a tree
forty dogs from a kennel
traveling by canoe
the dripping house
the leaking religion.
I wanted to yoke them tight
inside the gates of my worry.
O sweet city
drowning in the spittle
of some thundering
oaf, if I should choke
on the bread of empathy
and go under,
find these marred riches,
like the cosmic dust
of Dover’s cliffs
or the femur
of some unknown creature,
fossilized inside me.

In the Drain of the Storm

The ocean decanted poorly.
You weren’t to disturb the sediment.
Now eels are in the streets and the radio has gone
all tragic. O Sparrow at the gate of misery,
I’ve been practicing your song
at every goodbye. Yet I’m still not strong enough
to watch the drowning. I’m learning instead
how to haul. Bags of clothes
carried to the neighbors. Jugs of water to the hospital.
Soup to shelters. Skateboards
and soccer balls to the kids who lost everything.
Books and blankets and bowls. I’m learning how much
I don’t need. There are so many things
I could tell you—
how I finally turned off the live cam
not knowing if she’d survived.
How her owner sent a rig and a kayak,
and neither could get through.
How fear is made of water,
rising. But I’ve learned to keep the guilt
for myself, to tuck it away like stones in my pockets,
cold and perfect
and so heavy that when the rainfall returns, I too
will drown.