The Hunted


They are coming,

over the hill there,

eyes bright as lanterns.


What use to ask

if they’ve seen us?

If they haven’t, they will.


We’ve no better chance of hiding

than the moon,

now caught

in some mountain’s embrace.


All our lives

we beg to be held—

why should the moon

be any different?


Still, we run.

This is what our veins have taught us,

the sap in the trees.


We shall run

until we are water


and then, when they are close—

so close we could be their fingerprints—

we shall sink into the earth.


Just watch us give ourselves up.


© Nicole Melanson

This poem first appeared at Waywiser Press




May Day


A boat runs out of water

and marries sand,

its skin soft as sailors

dream it.


See a man walking

towards a woman

whose arms hang loosely

at her sides,

her dress red enough

to do the talking.


The man pauses

to pick up a shell,

its underbelly iridescent

in the early morning light—

sun not a lemon

but lemonade,

spilling the broken crockery of gulls.


This is the reunion

of two souls that have been meeting

for centuries,

the bodies they inhabit now

too old to live for lust,

too young to know anything better.

And so they speak

their earliest language.


In a moment

all will be memory:

a man crowning

the rightful owner of a shell,

a woman in a red dress

who is not the sea, and yet—


© Nicole Melanson

* This poem first appeared in New Delta Review




Translated from a Language I Don’t Speak

—with thanks to Olga Broumas for sharing the Greek poet Elytis


Look up, the sun

is exactly where you left it

and will not move

until you call it

in the language of your heart.


Silence is also safe

for we will carry you,

but why rely on our embrace

when you can fly?


Men have waited lifetimes

to see a flower this close.


Many have gone blind.


© Nicole Melanson

* This poem first appeared in The Mississippi Review, where it was a runner-up for The Mississippi Review Prize for Poetry

Beach sweatpea - Nicole Melanson