Melissa Felson - Poet
Melissa is a special education teacher from Long Island, New York and has been
writing poetry of some sort for as long as she can remember. This year, she decided to begin sharing her writing publicly on social media and at open mic nights in her area. Since then, she's been featured in Nassau Voices in Verse, Eve Poetry Literary Magazine, Poetry in the Time of
Coronavirus, and the Remington Review Spring 2020 Issue. If you enjoy her work, you can read more on Instagram at @intotheminefields.
"I am inspired by the power of words to connect people despite their varied experiences and points of view. Poetry and storytelling, to me, help us to realize and internalize the threads of humanity that tie us together."
In a Kayak on a Thursday
Not too long ago
Not so far from here
I was crouched in a bathroom crying
at a party,
unbeknownst to the many people
on the other side of the door,
and for no reason
I hurt –
a deep, knowing hurt
that pierced my belly
and, on occasion,
rose into my throat
but was never permitted
to quite reach my eyes.
I am sitting in a kayak
on a Thursday
In a kayak that I bought,
In a kayak that I learned how to transport,
In a lake that I found.
But what is most profound
is that I am in a kayak
with a happiness that I sought,
taught myself to find,
and fight for every day of my life.
I know what it is
for my smile to reach my eyes
and to be the one
who put it there.
I had the funniest thought
that you reminded me of quicksand,
mostly because it was 2AM
and I was sinking into your memory once again.
Wikipedia said “the saturated sediment
might appear quite solid”
and your firm, tanned forearms
rose up out of the wet
and I had the saddest thought
that you once
Globus Hystericus. Also known as globus pharyngeus or “having a lump in one’s throat.”
Whatever you’d like to call it, it cropped up in my windpipe like an unwelcome clog in a skin drain, as I watched my cell phone shaking in my hand. My thumb trembled as it erased each photo of us from existence. Why do our bodies resist the things we know are best for us?
It wasn’t the worst relationship I’d been in – or at least not the most dysfunctional. I had been in this situation before, I reminded myself; and back then it had been more than just my finger shaking.
But somehow the reality of how hard this is forgets the memory of how hard that was – and how necessary.
I knew I was being a coward by doing it this way. Sending a cold, sharp text; blocking his number, deleting all of our Instagram photos; all while I was a thousand miles away on vacation and untouchable. Rip of his bandage and don’t even give him the chance to scream.
I guess sometimes we can only make second-rate versions of the decisions we’d like to make.
At least this time around was better than last time – I think. Can it be called progress to be aware that you’re on a sinking ship when you were once confusedly choking out gulps of water with no possible conception of why? Even if you still stubbornly refuse to save yourself, regardless?
Aren’t you more able to make the choice to jump when you realize where you’ve found yourself? Doesn’t it then follow that the next time you find yourself on a cracked and leaking vessel, you might have the presence of mind to walk calmly toward the nearest emergency exit?
Well, calmly isn’t how I’d describe it this time; that much is certain.
I know that when I get home, I’ll have to deal with this directly; stop hiding behind the protection of thousands of miles and unanswered phone calls.
When I do, I’ll have to be brave. I’ll have to steady the shaking fingers, swallow the golf-ball-sized obstruction in my windpipe and answer the phone call.
And I’ll have to remind myself, once again, that I’ve been here before. And whether it was easier or harder the last time, I did it. And I can do it this time too. And the next time, for that matter.
And each time I do it, maybe I’ll get a little closer to the best-rate version of myself – someone who knows she deserves to be on a ship that has the capability of carrying her.