Three Poems


Melissa Eleftherion





bullet shells in a post-war field of yarrow





the shell and its wounded

all the little shoots go

in a sounding of light fractures

the littles and their wolf children

up up the thunder dome

their bread-burdened backs

see them run along the bough






a trick is collected laughter

violency nouns the empire

when we name it it becomes

blood and understanding electrics






to refuse to participate in the war self

to shrug off dominion

to be yarrow

with balls hanging out in a cul de sac

flower’s slaughter

my body a discarded bag of flesh






under the dome

a field of us capitalists

stretched sun upon the thickening eye







irregular conchoidals





Where skin latches for pleasure

it’s a repellent attraction

this comfort

this breaking

umbilicus and its greasy margins

how it all slips in the fracture

sea glass in the ditch






Vestibular parallels

how it is to be between


like pressing your face

against the window of a departing train

like watching the self become a prism

our hearts outside in the open air

looking for wormholes

the conchoidal fissure






One tries to make whole

one dances so cracks rupture

flowers awkward in the margins

sediment in camber

i am a feather, fluffed - then tamped

my belly a gravel cavity

i will dig myself out












The call is a low, hoarse croak

Guttural heart song

Strutting, tufted

The rub of ant guts in its feathers

primaries - petioles

Its molting a sleek fandom of antennae

sacrificial carapaces






There is a rabid eye

What follows    when myth breaks you down

What is the weight of magic?


All these little deaths

Rent your alula

All the whisperings grounding







What’s that gentle flapping

Bell for carrion

Under coverts

Soft fur crawls






Diagnostic wing surgery

The child reaches in

My side eye radar

My feast of maggots

I claw I cry

I lift









Melissa Eleftherion is a cis queer human, a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist.  She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & ten chapbooks, including little ditch (above/ground press, 2018) & trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020).  Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra.  She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series.  Recent work is available at



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