Melisa Malvin-Middleton – three poems

Spilled childhood

of chocolate milk
Fruit Loops sprawl the linoleum.

Fallen blips of primary color
bloat with heaving sweetness.

Willie Wonka river
swells into Quik cascade

ceramic daggers.

The crash and scream
make the boy shudder.

A macabre routine:
I’m sorry.

No visible blood
this time

unlike the punch
that stains the marble counter.


We went to the home improvement store
for paint brushes and rollers.

Didn’t know that joint compound
was a good patch.

A weekend of planned painting
turned into a month

of holes that never
seemed to fill or dry.

Cracks from earthquakes past
spread across our asbestos sky.

Lavender everywhere
stuck to strands of hair

and those old Converse
that I can’t seem to throw away.

Martha Stewart says to add
a drop of black to the white paint

to keep the trim from yellowing
as if it were dress and veil

sealed in the hermitage
of a cardboard box

from discount dry cleaners
under piles of clothes

on bottom closet shelf
to be sorted one day

by Goodwill.

Schism of My Maker


“Flores para los muertos.”
Love of theatre
my mother gifted me.
Dust mites in Samuel
French script,
Summer and Smoke.
I stumble upon her script notes.
A piece of her as I read, a study.

The bare minimum.
Works defy logic,
painting glorious pictures
for rich and heartbreaking figures.

The writing I adore, I am drawn to write
…………………these tragic figures who almost make it out unscathed.


I am a master at unearthing our humanness,
our flaws in raw honesty.

Trying to understand that which makes us human,
that which makes us flawed—

how we can be an amalgam
of contradicting emotions and morals;
…………………good people sometimes do terrible things;
……………………………………………………………….and so on.

Making sense of ambiguity.
Writing and being raw, tragically flawed,
is to ascertain the impossible, and in doing so,



May I be well.
May I be happy.
May I be free from suffering.

May you be well.
May you be happy.
May you be free from suffering.

May we be well.
May we be happy.
May we be free from suffering.

Melisa Malvin-Middleton is a Los Angeles poet, playwright, and musician who teaches writing at California State University, Northridge and College of the Canyons. Her poetry appeared in the latest issue of The Ofi Press Literary Magazine, and her plays have been performed by Fresh Produce’d and Savage Players. This fall, her chapbook will be out with Yak Press.