A Night

A man in the freshly paved street is on fire

He had a tongue ring and long blonde hair, looked a lot like Axl Rose at 35
He flirted with me, used ridiculous lines, something about emotional security.
Later I watched him get arrested for possession in the parking lot arguing with police, saying that he was just using the bathroom; “How you gonna arrest me for using the bathroom!” He sounded so ‘come upon.’ That voice, nonsense. He really put himself into it. I stood outside against the motel’s concrete wall staring, giggling inside. It was beautiful. He was ludicrous.



I lost her. Snakes; not the natural kind,
Gliding around it, squeezing her muscle out.
Swimming dizzy under a black lake,
Almost thick as tar trying to be Egyptian Asps.
A slithering, wavering piece of ash rising,
Floating up from the blue flames of summer’s water.

I heard the mother
I saw the dancer
I witnessed the wife give soft caresses
I watched till after sunset

I hurried to the restroom
And vomited heavenly white roses into the dirty sink: I forgave her.
Upstairs angels and demons shed their skin; make love
Outside the sound of loaded water droplets hitting aged porcelain
Through a thin wall separating beautiful opposites of fire.
I went back home and set the big white blossoms where her body lays.


About the author

Melissa McCollum

I am a girl pushing against a naturally constructed stone wall and guess what? I will never give up. I am much more of a fighter than, I believe, despite shuffling very little rock in my life, my 31 years. I just want my work out there. The rest will take care of itself.

My name is Melissa McCollum, a poet since the age of 14, born on Bastille Day, 1982. I’ve always thought that was a summary of who I am: Fireworks and the powerful rush and waves overcoming the crowd taking me up with them as my feet are somehow still on the ground and the loss of reserve as my every facet are enmeshed in worship. Of course, we can’t forget the Quaaludes.

Oh, yeah. I have balled my eyes out watching Doctor Who.