Melanie Figg | What there is

I sloughed off the weight
of him. The burden of shame
rinsing off like water paint coloring
the sink, fascinating & temporary.
Ascending & delightful
to ascend. This is what the prophets
promise. This is what I have found
at the end of struggle: a clear
field, room to run. The pond
is deep blue & chilling,
jarring as any act of grace:
an audible gasp, erotic &
begging for more—why are you
so afraid? What if you leaned
into joy? Burdens, you know those.
You push up against them
as if they will support you. You made
me your burden, then hated me
for burdening you. I’d laugh
if I didn’t love you so much.
I forgive you each time,
sometimes moment after moment,
yet it never exhausts me.
It makes me lighter, each
forgiveness, each easing off
of another heavy sweater.
The pond is new each time it cools you.

Melanie Figg is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. She has won many awards for her poetry including grants from the McKnight and Jerome Foundations and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. With an MFA in Poetry, her poems, essays and reviews have been published in dozens of literary journals including The Iowa Review, LIT, Colorado Review, and others. She curates Literary Art Tours in DC galleries (a Washington Post Editor’s Pick), and teaches and coaches writers in community art centers and privately.


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