SPOTLIGHT: Doors Carelessly Left Ajar by Melissa A. Chappell


I cannot deny,

I would not deny,

that I would climb

these mountains to find you

a seed in the sun,

our memories buried deep

in the husk.

I have come to you

to be loved to devastation.

I will pull you down from

your ravaging sun,

burn your cities down

to the blackened earth.

In those days was not our

language uncommon,

so that the world

yet wonders?

I cannot deny you,

no matter the loving,

I would not deny

anything for you,

even if it be my parting.


Press yourself against these poor bones of mine,

a wildflower pressed within the leaves of this book.

the fragrance to float on the dusk filing the room.

A grass-hearted girl, I dreamed of you,

in the vernal air when the dogwood buds were coming forth.

I have been driven to love you since those

mysterious nights lay beside me in my virgin bed.

You were the match that struck a flame

in the strange and foreign lands that waited for you.

When I met you, the mountain was an effulgence.

I unleashed the wild buffalo on the prairie,

whipped up a sandstorm on the Sahara,

made the linden trees tremble in the Alps.

I strove to claim you by virtue of my love for you,

but leaves skirt and skitter and finally fly away

to secret places, addresses unknown.

I am without you, yet the buffalo still run,

the sandstorm still blows, and the lindens quake.

All that I have left is this wildflower, once pressed

between the leaves of this book.

I toss it into a coming wind, and it rides the light

into everything.


The world is burning

and we two have survived

the ranting rivers of flame.

The ruination of the sun

is upon us,

the native grasses scorched

to lay bare the earth’s nakedness.

Find me, find me here.

Remember the sun,

our gentle mother,

light flowing from her apron,

when the blue-eyed grass

colored our bodies lavender

that bled into the night.

The mountains were deep

with lightless caves,

unmeasured night.

We knew one another,

I took shelter in your

body, your strong,

generous body,

in the seam where

twilight is sewn to dusk.

before the world burned,

before the last of our days.


My dreams in isolation are fitful.

A growing motley collection of masks

on my desk.

COVID escapes my sight,

hidden alone in sterile caves

of brick and mortar.

We are carefully instructed.

Don’t touch.

Don’t walk so close.

Don’t breathe too deep.

The birds no longer come to

rest in the cypress.

Perhaps they’ve gone to find

another world less terrifying.

My dreams in isolation leave me restless.

I felt you come behind me at the

kitchen sink just tonight.

One hand at my breast,

your unshaven mouth

blazed a trail down my neck

onto my shoulder.

I forgot the death masks.

I breathed deeply of your scent:

the earth, the river, moss,

warm, amber scotch.

I blessed God for the memory.

Yes, this was enough.

It was enough to lift me

out of isolation into the

consolation of what may yet be.

It was enough to set the

chipping sparrow’s song ablaze

with something that reminded me

of hope.


My casket of wrought iron

rests in a grove of poplars.

Roots are pushing,

in slow motion rushing,

vining through the iron

forged in fire,

a memory struck

on an anvil.

Time here becomes

more brief

whenever the west

bleeds crimson

and gold across

the blue breasted God.

Just call my name.

If I were to hear it

caress the mountains

and come down

racing with

the rivers,

if it were to sound

over the pines

and burst like a

storm cloud over

this land,

I would come out breaking,

taking hold of my portion,

an outlaw on the train bound

for mercy-land

and I would fly,

like the fugitive sparrow

I would fly.

I would come to you.


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