MELISSA F. KAELIN

★ ★ ★ ★

POETRY

The color of my experiences

How do I embrace the color of my experiences?
A magenta-to-melon gradient turned to cerulean blue.
This cold and collected feeling is not familiar to me,

Its strange limitations demand too much, and far too deep.
In this hue I am bound by my sorrows,

I am strapped to the rocks on the cliff of grief.

Nor could I fall or could I fly,

Instead static above a former lightness of being.

I was once the warmth in the sunrise,

Packing a cooler early to catch the morning light,
Skipping under the flicker of Autumn leaves —
Rocks as stepping stones. Cliffs for the view.
My feet were naked, exposed in the fir cones,
Snug in the pine needles coated in sap;

My toes were free in the muddy creek,

The rapids surging over red clay soil.

Now I am the chill in the evening,

Sitting idle in the periwinkle shade of doubt.
A cobalt cloud hovers over those near to me,
And torrential rain lingers in my eyes.
Even in a storm there are rainbows,

But the spectrum has grown more fragile here.
Loss has painted me in the tone of twilight,
Uplifted only by celestial beauty overhead.

a space

It’s not my fault
You are jealous of the Milky Way.
That you scowl when I ever so gently
Move to the already drawn curtains,
And open a French door,
Which leads into my darkness,
Our home galaxy —
A smattering of stars above the bed where you sleep.

Are you threatened by greatness?
By the vast and unknowing boundaries of the universe;
How countless suns shine,
Even when they are burning out.
Or dying inside. Or gone —
Having collapsed into the cosmos centuries ago?

Why wouldn’t you gaze —
Turning your head upward,
Lifting your eyes above your own likeness,
To stand beside me while I romanced the world in the dark?
A space is here for you.
I stepped first on the firm ground;
Quieted the unwanted voices,
With your comfort in mind.

I knew you were too small.
And yet, I thought it was beautiful —
Maybe you, like me, wanted to feel something,
To be reduced to a half a dozen feet.
A body of water and tissue, just molecules and genes.
Recognizing how tiny a human really is
In the face of light —
Under the dancing protons;
The constant conversation of the planets and moons.

Don’t blame me
For becoming something nocturnal —
A foreign look born into my eyes by day.
I’ve always loved the evening,
Known the time was my center,
The galaxy, my core.
But now I need more…
Than us.
To be larger than you.

There is nothing greater than
Our expanding sky.

Melissa F. Kaelin is a writer, painter and photographer residing in Michigan. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Miami University. Her writing has been published in the Aurorean and Still Point Arts Quarterly, as well as many nonfiction publications including City Pages and Minnesota Monthly. In 2016, she self-published “Hope in the Hoarfrost,” a collection of poetry illustrated with her photographs. Inspired by the night sky, she is a cofounder of the Aurora Summit. For more, visit KaelinArt.com.

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