Ventriloquism. Poems by Melissa Broder


I’ve Learned a Lot but Not Much

People are still fucking
and we haven’t invented anything better.
I don’t read The New York Times.
When I fuck my beloved I pretend it is him
as a young man. When I fuck
a young man I pretend it is me.
I think I might be doing something wrong.
Let me be a saint among humans
is a dumb prayer anyway. Beat myself up
with a feather maybe. I am waiting
for a stray kitten to scratch this whole place down.
When my beloved says a stray kitten is wandering our block
I come running with deli meat crying BE MINE.
I sit beside a parked car for two hours in the night.
The kitten comes close. He looks into my eyes
to see who I am. He sees that I adore him
but I will not see him. He steals
a piece of meat and runs off
in the dark. At midnight it rains.



The gap between motherhood
and no motherhood
is grip. I wield my eggs
against women who have
dried up. Mine will dry
on a river rock. Punish
my future body
for taking the river
for granted. Hold my
palms up to the Goddess
and say Tell me what to do.
If the Goddess wants me
knocked up I’ll be a fish. If
she wants me in the river
I’ll be wetter. She calls me
daughter. A man becomes
an infant in my lap.

photo: centralasian / flickr

About Melissa Broder

Melissa Broder is the author of two collections of poems, most recently MEAT HEART. Poems appear in Guernica, Redivider, The Missouri Review, Court Green, et al. She edits La Petite Zine.


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