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Melancholy Never Expected Much

of me. It let me put my feet on her furniture, let me toss my pistachio shells on her floor. I suppose melancholy had low expectations when it came to girlfriends, she wanted me to hold her dead flowers, so I did. She wanted me

to swear the moon was not an idol, and I did that

too, though it is, and I don’t tell her this because sometimes I confuse obsession with love, confuse love with the way the moon

curves with its high ass, with its hips swinging

left and opening doors. Melancholy asks why am I smiling and I want to tell her about the sunset, the crescent moon, but instead I say, It’s good we’re offline tonight,

and she reaches for me, the way a blackhole

swallows starlight and I fall into her, I mean,

who could resist her pull.


Sometimes I Wonder If I'm Reading

a poem or a prayer, if your hands are on my shoulders or if my hands hold your covers open. On the worst days, silverfish exist between your pages, like vampires they arrive after dark and I’m lighting candles because god is a moth fluttering

through my sweaters. Remember when you thought showing up was enough,

but someone asked you to be present, set your phone down at dinner. It seemed easy enough, I mean who needs to know what messages arrive

under a late moon, but when you’re lonely, every opening for a little more starlight

means a chance not to ache for the touch of another and god

was once a mouth fluttering through your sweat and how we lost

wonder when we shut our books and silverfish still try to create families in what we once loved, in the nightpoems we almost carried with us, but left because

someone said there’s not enough room for that, there’s a moon that wants you to fall

to your knees for it, it wants you to pray.


KELLY RUSSEL AGODON is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press as well as the Co-Director of Poets on the Coast: A Weekend Retreat for Women. Her fourth collection of poems, Dialogues with Rising Tides was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2021. Agodon lives in a sleepy seaside town in Washington State and is an avid paddleboarder and hiker. You can write to her directly at or visit her website:


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