Bob Dornberg  © 2007 All Rights Reserved


She wears a vortex of pattern,
her dress printed with tiny globes
of flowers and the ruffled collar
brushes her chin, then spills
down her neck. On her head
she wears a crown of crinkled maps,
rivers and valleys flattened
and folded like wings to make a halo
stretching from shoulder to shoulder.

But still her face holds something heavy,
like someone she doesn’t love
has just said “I love you,”
like she was tricked into hearing
a secret she did not ask to hear,
or obliged a request to hold something
for a moment that turned into eternity.



Method of Loci
            -a mnemonic system in which items to be remembered are
            mentally associated with specific physical locations or landmarks.

I. Front Door

I thought nothing of you
when I shook your hand.
We discussed the cold
weather in Wisconsin
and I forgot your face
but remember the skull
sitting on the shelf
in the back of the bar.

II. Staircase

It was never fair.
Like a quick fix,
thinking of you
is electric, is feeling
the blood gurgle in my veins,
before coming back down.

III. Half bath

My bottom lip is swollen
because you bite when you kiss,
call me baby, baby then ask
to see my room, say you just
want to see where I sleep.
I wait for you to climb
in my bed but you leave.

IV. Laundry Room

You think me dumb
because I say nothing
but I know you don’t want
to come clean.

V. Master Bedroom

You don’t know I spent the night with him.
He doesn’t rub his hands over his face
when he sleeps like you do,
like you do when we argue,
when you’re flustered, defeated.

VI. Living Room

Poems in sidewalk chalk.
Coffee and ice cream for breakfast in bed.
Leaving the umbrella.
Braiding my hair incorrectly.
Drinking the water off your shoulders in the shower.

VII. Closet

You cook me dinner and I drink
from your glass, see
the world distorted through
the bottom. This time,
your kiss is tighter.

VIII. Kitchen

Like the splash of cigarette ash
out the car window on a highway,
I could never hold you.

Melissa Holm
Copyright © 2007


Melissa Holm is a student in the MFA program at The University of Mississippi. She graduated from Denison University, located in Granville, Ohio, in 2005 with a BA in French and English. Melissa currently lives in Oxford, Mississippi.

Table of Contents            Next Poem            Guidelines