Poem: Melancholy Embodied

by A.M. Lynn


My body, betrayal is like
car hoses leaking in a drive,
ship hulls cracking at sea,
horses’ spines stabbing the riders.

My mind, failure is like
trash in the desert,
books misshelved,
paper notes burning.

My spirit, loss is like
waiting hours for pickup by dad,
defending against sis,
learning I’ve long strangled myself.



Author’s Statement:

Recently, I dreamed at night about riding a horse (not one I’ve known in the waking world) whose spine felt as if it was about to burst out of its back to impale. The hard ridge of vertebrate jabbed up into me. I was scared.

That ridiculous fear is not one I’ve had before, even in the distant days of riding my father’s horses and ponies bareback (as in, without a saddle or blanket). What did the dream mean?

I figure that fear was the translation of the threat from my own spine. Because dreams allow it, I existed simultaneously as the horse and rider. In reality, my back has been hurting nonstop for years now, and on the worst days, I feel as if any movement will destroy me.

That self-analysis inspired this poem, made up of memories and nightmares.

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