Melissa Koosmann




On the Occasion of the End of the World


My plans are destroyed,

but I could still steal

the toys you've got left. No,


kiss me, please, and I'll stroke

your hair. I'm the failure.

I made you.


Here's the last moment.

I could play


the bronze horn, the goosethroat,

the glasswater tune


to shatter a rabbit hole,

wither a cover of leaves.


Or, I could tuck you in

and tell you a new adventure.


The sun, as a child, scuffed its feet

and scorched the bullies' gardens, so I


tied a hook to its head

and hung it decorously.


But not you.


I would have taught you

to heat the earth, to shepherd


flocks of starlings

like dark cloth you shook in the wind.


Let's pretend it isn't coming.

Pretend you're not cold, please.


I meant to make you better. I meant

to make you last.





Do Not Intentionally Cut Stone or Steel


Your motions cocoon you, so you

go through them.


You try violence

into a circuit—a drop of water

down a horn—and out.


A hummingbird will nose

a dead branch for nectar and, typically, a boy

will lunge—the bird


too quick. In anger

he'll strike, and you'll deflect his attack—


you brought it—downstream spinning

harmless away. He doesn't choose,

but neither do you,


weather and hands and teeth

and your teeth—tame, aggressive, clean—








Settle into the earth and spread out

thin in every direction, your eyes closed

till birds shout carelessly in your ears

and you forget your ears,

and rabbits and deer and automobiles

walk on the dirt your body

which feeds the tree which becomes the stone

to mark you

crumbling. If you concentrate,

a button and a hair disintegrate so softly

you never knew they belonged to you

and never will again.





From You at Free


You gets up too early, unable to withstand the sun in bed. You cats your back and jogs a bit in place. The dust notices, wind-drifts, and settles to wait for the next ride. Too tired to linger, you settles too into driving pace, creosote floating below.

Small dirt snowing in sun. A wing flick can pick you up, you candor you kaleidoscope. You owns every freedom but choice of where to land.









You disables the clock and drives through the night. The moonset, the blink yellow line. A rabbit slips under the tires, then nothing. The same line. You counts you doesn't know what the straight flat forever, you dot on a nothing you nothing.

In the end the Toyota saves you, overheating uphill. You pulls aside and swears you'll keep your vigil, but before dawn finds you sleeps.









You always peels at least two wrappers from your food. At this stage, vegetables are memories. You finds them in pictures but never incarnate. Once when this happened you spit fire ribbons fire eyes, which surprised you. You had so little bite before.

The dragon flies up a tumbleweed highway, shedding scales on false Toyota wind. The scales land forth in desert dirt and bloom at night to feed you.









You smells javelina. Dust. A plant waves back and forth against your cheek, but it doesn't have spines. An earthquake rumbles so subtly below you, you wouldn't feel it if you weren't lying down.

Your pupils horizon, and you follows. You furrows, what smoke fuzzes your mind.









Palms blot the horizon, fixed but bending, their fan heads regal threatening. Still. In your mind, sigh, rise among them,

forever moving from here to here. You home you mountain you passerine.