Near midnight I'm held
hostage to the hazy upshot in the corner
velvet near a laced up tree and curious how I got here.
What a crowd! I think
and I think I should hoard my stash in my shoe.
Did you catch the census takers trying to autocorrect
the shelterbelt out of my history
I've been fending off elements
since I first showed up at this latitude so
I don't trust easy.
In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
you ask me outside
where the music dims
against the complicated bramble
and I love how the moon
is gilding the rusted basketball hoop in the driveway
and bouncing off the sheen of the rubber tree
and onto this fable
in a city that bleeds its saline soil
into another difficult year.
About this poem
"Unusual for me, I wrote the title to this poem before I wrote the poem. I wanted to try out some optimism! In most of my 'Landscape' poems, California's flora is the backdrop to various horribleness. But here I wanted it to be a kind of antidote to that horribleness."
About Lynn Melnick
Lynn Melnick is the author of "If I Should Say I Have Hope" (YesYes Books, 2012) and the coeditor, with Brett Fletcher Lauer, of "Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation" (Viking, 2015). She teaches at the 92nd Street Y and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.
(c) 2014 Lynn Melnick. Originally published by the Academy of American Poets, www.poets.org. Distributed by King Features Syndicate
Near midnight I'm held
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