Yours by Melissa Barrett


I am your lather, your litter, your hamster, and Britta.
Your first exit, the raw edit, a blank cassette
and basement carpet. Your sinkhole, your cipro,
your perfect Monday cup of joe—aspartame
but hold the cream, a nest of gum and a UFO.

I’m in the details, the slaw, the tide and cesspool.
Beneath your roof’s slate, behind this word’s fate,
I’m the exception to your number one rule.
Your rubies, your birthstone, the city of your birth,
I am a brothel of lost brothers, a buried urn
full of dead earth. A backyard walnut, your
neighborhood Wal-Mart and the Viet Nam Wall,
all at once. I’m your underwire, you’re under fire,
your terrorism and your hunch.

Bonedry, bonewhite, I’m bow resin and hot air.
Your horoscope, your horomones,
I’m Florida this time of year. Your marbles
and marvel, your alarm with fluorescent blaring,
I wrote myself into your book, that nightmare
on marrying: I do, I do—your porch columns,
lemonade, your made-for-tv bad eBay trade—
I’m your heteronormative childhood dollhouse,
in a word, I’m harrowing.

Rawhide to bromide and tooth-white fluoride,
I’m your orange rind, bad rhyme, fat black
magpie. Step back in time or reread the lines,
I’ll be your very own Gertrude Stein: I repeat,
there is no repetition
—only me and your DVDs,
and several allusions to Tender Buttons.
Both eyelet & button, I’m the first day
with a new razor. I’m crumbs, stone thumbs
and a dream you’ll have later. Your west coast
and your next coat, Mt. Holyoke and unsung
holy notes. I’m a glinting gilded birdcage,
but I let the bird go.

I’m your magpie, your meatless pie
and meet me at three: your opponent
in mesh, vanishing in grass: that’s me.
Both beagle and bugle, worth millions
as Breughel’s Babel—
I’m an ellipse, an eclipse, a list and long
lisp, I’m it, don’t you see?

Your Mother Confessor, your volume
and possessor, I’m your horse growing hoarse,
your fourth story floorboards, pro-beer
but anti-Coors. O glittering white-throated
shores, ain’t gonna do mine but I’ll do
your chores—ma petite fleur, dear reader,
sweet juror, I’m yours.



Yours first appeared in apt‘s fourth print annual, which you can buy here.


Melissa Barrett’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Narrative, Gulf Coast, Web Conjunctions, and Best New Poets. She is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award in Poetry and a Gold Standard Teaching Award for her efforts toward closing the achievement gap. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.


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