The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: little ditch by Melissa Eleftherion

little ditch

ittle ditch was a century a calling
can you hear them saying
don’t startle the ash


please startle all the ashes ancestors of stitches

i took up my silence in your mouth
all those nights i lied so i could forget
i fled i kept coming back i pumped my legs high on the swing and hoped
all those days we were one home one body
i climbed over dog shit and pizza boxes to hold your hand

there was the light that day off the fire escape and you were crying
when i consoled you the truth in the gleam off the window your open crooked mouth i
fell in


i slept in your bed all those years there was no other bed
but betrayal and for that piece i fought others like me
teased hair and fist-fights rumors and rank-outs stealing bruises and romanticizing
little boy pains i lost hid concealed ate my own
i pretended i was one of the cool girls i’m not a cool girl anymore i’m a cunt


little ditch was a century of sad women a defect in the cell division a slash across the
ribs little ditch tried to be a good girl bounced on men’s knees when told/don’t bite back
bit instead the insides of cheeks to taste her own blood/remembering her worth –
pennies

the dirt in her mouth
one small sacrifice

her wobbly arms doin’ the woo

her belly fat exhaled in a curdle atop

little tight dresses little bow ties little ditch started young
she took it all in opened her mouth wide lips cracked
she thought it was kindness opening she thought it was power
she became walls

little ditch is centuries of digging
little ditch is the ghost – the pallor hanging over every woman’s achievement
little ditch was is centuries of generations of women digging out the future

little ditch is a burned-out Barbie Dream House sour milk between legs
a motor that guns every time she’s casually interrupted in conversation casually
sexually assaulted in conversation casually dismissed gaslit light that match


This selection comes from the book, little ditch, available from ABOVE/GROUND PRESS.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including little ditch (above/ground press, 2018) & trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and currently co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra. She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at http://www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

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