Exquisite Corpse Poem

An exquisite corpse poem from lines written on Poet-Tree leaves at the 2018 C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference.

By Melinda Ruth, Poetry Reader

Poetry, the migration of blood
through veins pushing thoughts
from head to pen-held hand. It took
my sister saying “that was rape”

for me to realize because the first
thing we are taught is not to call
it that. And so we beat on—

boats against the tide—borne
back ceaselessly into the past. I am
bowed and hang heavy with late

snow. There’s a snapping along
my spine. I am soft wood and very

poplar. And we will never know
our mothers.

                               Letting go as sweet
and sad as salutations. You’re falling now,

you’re swimming. This is not
harmless. You are not
breathing. There’s a place between

bone walls of the brain and the colors
of reality where I float
in the shadows of fake

memories, so far under water light

can’t find me. The rain
gives brief relief.


Melinda is a Baltimore transplant who is currently a graduate student at the University of Central Arkansas, seeking her MFA in Poetry. She has pieces published in Pleiades, The Emerson Review, Red Earth Review, and more. When not writing, Melinda enjoys good coffee, expanding her artistic tastes and late nights with her dog.
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