Four Poems

Melissa Evans

Photo Credit: Steve Schroeder/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

What is Poetry Anyway?

I stood in the doorway
At 6 am and saw you.
It was the sound that woke me;
The crash…
There you were in kitchen,
Holding the pieces
of a small teacup,
Embellished with sheaths of wheat,
Now dismembered,

Coffee dripping from the tabletop.

The cup was the last piece
From a set your grandmother
Gave you on your wedding day.

You turned the pieces in your hand,
The overhead light casting shadows
On your face.
It seemed like a lifetime
You stood there.
I watched as you wiped
a small tear from your cheek
and tossed the china pieces
in the waste bin,
You turned—
and mopped the coffee from the table,
Getting on with breakfast.

People ask me all the time, what is poetry anyway?

My answer is always the same;
It is the music of broken pieces
of a single teacup,
at 6 am in my mother’s house.


The Other Woman

Summer’s dying
has left a fire in the trees.
Fall burns against my skin
as leaves plunge
like flaming fists
against the window,
Threatening to end us.

I am freed now only
Through touches
And moments when you
Mount me life a madness.
Our bodies fusing,
a single flying shadow
On the bedroom wall.

Oh, how I loathe—
the keeping of myself,
The waiting for a glance.
In dreams, I find your hands
Tucked in my pockets;
Just hands and nothing.
In dreams, they take from me
A shirt, a shoe, perhaps panties
In public places—
And caress me as you would.

Somewhere right now, you are with strangers.
Somewhere strangers are filling you like water;
Unfamiliar faces spilling
From your cracked cup hands.
Oh, how cruel you have become.
I have no disguise.
I am more than a kept creature,
A bauble, a fat gold coin.
I am skin, old bones, and feeling,
Caged in a wild form.
I am a coursing force—
Tethered to you by bonds of pain’.
A revelation of years wrinkle-eyed,
wide-hipped, and losing,
Always losing you
To her,
A memory,
An enigma,
Her ravenous heart—
eating you from the grave.


Chop Wood, Carry Water

It was easy in the beginning to believe—
that you could do anything.
To be a person of action,
to take the sphere by force.
The trick is to keep moving, always doing,
Climbing the mountain to scream your name into the wind.
This is how you learn to chop wood and carry water.

The stories always seem astonishing,
The ones who manage to create
something beautiful seemly out of nothing.
Like the sound of Fall blowing across the front yard,
The wind tossing leaves like Chinese throwing stars,
The beauty cuts us with its quickness taking us by surprise.
We say isn’t that amazing?
Then where does the time go?
Meanwhile, we chop wood and carry water.

Somewhere there is a first cry, a breath,
a new thought coming through,
a vessel of being, born new.
It happens over and over again…
I think about that moment incessantly.
What will they teach you?
To scream your name into the wind?
To chop wood and carry water?

I am reaching for something intangible here,
The smell of lilac and broken stems spill
from the vase in the window,
Reminding me of something final and delicate.
The window effervesces with drops of rain
An eyelet pattern reaching through the glass,
Thin as skin,
short as breath,
and gone before breakfast.
But It doesn’t matter, really, it doesn’t matter at all.
They will dismiss this without a glance,
Busy counting breaths like pebbles dropped into a jar,
We have important things to do.
Let’s think about it all tomorrow,
today we chop wood and carry water.


Baby Doll

Cracked like an egg
And oozing air,
musked in
Behind the ears.
Blood red lips
Through cracked teeth,
Pinned down in
the inclement earth
Packed in like chum,
Tight as sardines,
Languishing in a vernacular
the delicate message,
I am pretty,
See everyone said so.
Here the body is abandoned,
Stripped and run clean through.
Look but do not touch,
Touch but do not come close.
The delicate skin
Is cold at contact.
Let us put a fine point
On the situation.
It requires restraint.
Draw back the obverse to see
Clockworks Bursting
from one glass eye.
Pull the cord
She has nothing to say,
Spiritless victim of childhood,
Crying mommy, mommy
over and over again.

Born in Texas, Melissa Evans received a degree in Literature from the University of North Texas, she is also working on a children’s book series. She resides in Prosper, Texas where she lives with her husband, Joel and her 4 dogs, Hershey, Maxie, Butch and Sundance. Email: hershey1pointer[at]

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