2 poems by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Floating patterned textiles


It’s always my mom or my sisters who see women in gowns, standing over their beds saying their name who, when a glass breaks or a pair of pants rips, say, “I had a dream about this,” who tell me of seeing Abuelita dance with skeletons & gravestones through our door & out the window, who know that the dogs need to take a shit just by the way their eyes look, who feel

that there are cats sleeping underneath the porch just because of the way wind dances outside, who kiss people & just “get a certain feeling,” who have a dream about their tights ripping & then the next day there’s the tear who believe that the dead aren’t really dead but whistling at them from the trees, who move through their lives following the trail of salt in front of them, trusting it will take them somewhere with sun.

I’ve never felt leaves winking at me.
I do not carry crystals in my pockets.
I buy candles & I forget to light them.
I’ve let an ice coffee mold over my tarot deck.
I record everything compulsively.
I want to leave everything behind.


She was staring out the window.
She was playing tick-tack-toe.
She was burning spiders with a magnifying glass.
She was straddling a pillow during the nighttime.
It was active sitting.
It was imaginative resting.
Closing her eyes, she was trying to think of the right things:
the sweat on Mr. Romeros’ mustache.

the bulge in the next-door neighbor’s shorts.
(In the next room, her mother was crying about bills & about debt & about family far-away.)
She was opening her eyes. She was thinking of
                      the blond hairs on Ms. London’s wrist
                      the golden cross
                      how it looks like someone took a glitter pen
& drew it on there,
the phrase: I believe in you.
She was dreaming of
tracing her fingers on that honey neck
of yanking whatever god had put there
she was rubbing
the chain
all over her own neck & face,
& that stage between her legs.
She was feeling herself
start to glow.


Melissa Lozada-Oliva is the author of peluda (Button Poetry 2017) and the forthcoming novel-in-verse Dreaming of You (MCD x FSG 2021). You can find her work in the Adroit Journal, Muzzle Magazine, and Redivider. She is a co-host of the podcast Say More with Olivia Gatwood. She lives in Brooklyn. You can follow her everywhere except in real life at @ellomelissa

This week’s illustrations are by Michael DeForge, who lives in Toronto, Ontario. His comics and illustrations have been featured in Jacobin, The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Believer, The Walrus and Maisonneuve Magazine. He worked as a designer on Adventure Time for six seasons. His published books include Very CasualA Body BeneathAnt ColonyFirst Year HealthyDressingBig KidsSticks Angelica, Folk Hero and A Western World. Also, he stirs hot toddies with a pair of scissors.