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"Fledgling", "Voice-Over Mine", & "Drift" by Melissa Flores Anderson


The way you smell brings me back

To the feel of your smile against my hair,

The sound of breath on my cheek.

The feel of your fingers against my back,

Like a bird, a fledgling,

Learning to flap its wings against the wind.

Your callow hand spreads to embrace mine,

So young and naïve, and full of intent.

I’ve never been held by anyone

The way you are holding me with your eyes.

But nocturnal desire fades with the light,

And with the dawn, I am a diurnal creature

Who needs much more than you.

Your emotions slide

From your fingertips to mine.

My love weighs more than yours,

Drags us out of the sky into a depth of oceans,

Where your eyes dry out with salts.

I tear out my heart in recompense,

Hold it above waves undulating in sunlight,

While you dive away, unaccepting.

Voice-over Mine

The hooded perfume of a voice-over

just like how you talk me down

from the heights of hysteria

breath with mint melted on your tongue.

I know you don’t know me

like you used to know the taste

of something more than love,

when you took these thoughts of mine

changed them

rearranged them.

I know you will never

smell the way you once did,

the way you once closed your eyes

and could only see my language.

Not the words how you follow them now,

wanting them to be other than the truth,

wanting them not to take me home.

When we speak,

I cannot talk you down

from my heights of hysteria,

I cannot drop you down

and take that taste of mint from your tongue

Your voice over mine

I shout,

am not heard.


At 15, I wrote poems on trig homework

and declared 35 too old to have a child.

My best friend fell in love and it was requited.

I could not quell my envy and certainty

That every boy would eventually break my heart.

At 42, I write poetry on the back of meeting agendas,

and wonder if 43 is too old to have a second child.

I fell in love and it was requited.

But I cannot quell the envy and certainty

Of our 4-year-old only child who is sure he needs a sister.

I try to squelch the truth I’ve known all these years,

That this man I love will someday break my heart,

Or I will break his,

At the end of this life that will never be long enough.

I weigh this knowledge against the weight of an arm

Around me every night as I drift into sleep,

Anchoring me in place.

Melissa Flores Anderson is a Latinx Californian and an award-winning journalist. Her creative work has been published by Rigorous Magazine, Discretionary Love, Pile Press, Variant Lit, Twin Pies Literary,Roi Fainéant Press andChapter House Journal. It is forthcoming in Void Space Zine and Moss Puppy Magazine. She has read pieces in the Flash Fiction Forum and Quiet Lightning reading series.


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