Gutter Maps

ocean ellipsis mouth
we catch ourselves
a grumble in the time gap
maw’s energetic swallow
her beast, her quickening

where were all the murderous
bowlegged dangers i avoided
rollerskating down Mermaid Avenue
back when tides washed the back legs of youth’s agency

there in the subatomic catacomb
an organism of prisms
sold in the back junk shops
i washed my poverty in anonymous
erotic paperbacks i washed
my ideas about poverty through
the camera’s ground glass

the smiling was a circle
i swung to – the sun
beat the boardwalk and its
nostalgic catastrophe of magics
a map of gaslight gutter
rainbows i followed to the sea

Melissa Eleftherion Head ShotMelissa Eleftherion grew up in Brooklyn. She is the author of huminsect (dancing girl press, 2013), prism maps (Dusie Kollektiv, 2014), Pigtail Duty (dancing girl press, 2015), and several other chapbooks and fragments. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Entropy, Negative Capability, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, So to Speak, ​Tinderbox, ​and Vector Press. Melissa lives and works as a reference librarian in Mendocino County where she manages the Teen Services department. She also maintains the Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange, a community-curated digital chapbook archive she created and developed for the Poetry Center at SF State University.​ You can visit her @apoetlibrarian and ​