Poetry by Melissa Tuckey


On the Anniversary of King’s Assassination

A tree frog emaciated on road
and we ourselves, so easily lost
walking together at sunrise 

One crow preens other’s head
The gravel road, a rosy tint
The field almost lit        

Drought pecking our land
For days, we have mourned lost geese
I carry water

Chalk a list of things to do:
Water what is green
Abandon what is too much to carry

Morning sun baring its shiny white teeth

Walking the woods, I became dizzy
trying to learn the names of trees, looking up at not
one steady thing

as if the whole sky could come undone

Hours later an enormous hickory
is flung hard across the length
of our lawn, crown shattered

Just earlier that day, my neighbor
said we should do something about the tree

Heavy winds blowing through America
dangerous storms
No one can say we didn’t see it coming

Yael tells me hickory is medicine
for helplessness

Dave says, okay, but—
The tree fell


The Day After

This oil has a mouth

The clownish hair, his petulant scowl and bulldog face
That Halloween mask
Go ahead, remove the mask, show us who
or what is inside, & I’m thinking
what we least expect, of course
Hillary Clinton
Because isn’t that what we want?
For what we see with out own eyes to NOT be real
and for what is real to jump from behind
the living room
yelling “Surprise!”
we all go back to our beds dreaming
our lives are once again possible
All the while the television newscasters snicker with delight
clapping their rodent hands yelling
Which is of course the absolutely worse
thing to yell
when you finally wake up from a nightmare
and you realize
you never were awake at all—

filled with crude             the oil has read

our founding documents          the oil has rights

it burns       beside waters         still sweet enough  

for our lips