Monday, May 3, 2021

Melissa Eleftherion : Two poems





white phosphorus



white phosphorus                       soft and flammable



shoulder of purity                                 shoulder of privilege



the Greeks say “bringer of light”                                but that’s a definition I



          question as a source for colonialist thought




          whiteness always bringing the light like we’re saving Christmas and goodwill



          we shoulder our own damage

                     and watch it destroy whole populations



this myth of white goodness as pervasive

as a white knight black sheep

this lie as evasive as smoke



Ignite this veil of radiation this bestiary

of illuminations      whiteness

should not be a weapon



          I am phosphorus    an obscuring agent


          elemental vapor


a cloud wisp of chaos i am toxic


maelstrom of pretend


all                 we                are                          smoke


militarized ammunition

nature weaponized for combat



when i feel skin

i burn through it

my whiteness pervading all your cells


dominant, absorptive


like a sinister god



rose quartz


Aureole threshold

is totem

Three smooth vitreous points


Fibrous & generally stable in ultraviolet light

One is found or one finds oneself


Irradiation forms dusky hues

Rock crystal asterism

My terminal bud


In each hardness a prism or vein

A loathsome pustule

A bubblegum center


A dichroic future of bilateral symmetries

Our stars pulsing under the stone





Melissa Eleftherion is a cis queer human, a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & ten chapbooks, including trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020), & abalone (poems-for-all, 2021). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra. She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, curates the LOBA Reading Series, and serves as the Poet Laureate of Ukiah 2021-2023. Recent work is available at

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