3 Poems By Melissa Boles

They give extra points for alacrity and effulgence

I memorized every word




of the 2000 cheerleading film

Bring It On

and my favorite part

was when Missy Pantone

put on that stupid Toros skirt

and no one

not a single fucking person

not a one of you


maybe you like girls

it took me another

14 years to realize



given my obsession with Bring It On,

Maria Bello’s 25 episodes of ER,

and literally anything Sandra Bullock has ever done,

at minimum 

we should put bisexuality 

on the table

please purchase me a ticket to the stage performance of Christopher Meloni: Zaddy

in two thousand and twelve, he departed

left his millions of fans broken-hearted

ten years he was gone

then swift as a swan

he came back to the place he had started

and finally this man with a booty

returned to tv for his duty

he’d roll up his sleeves

fans hearts he relieves

when he graces primetime with his beauty

in a suit that fits like a glove

to his nemesis he gives a shove

and the actor, you pray,

that the role he will play

is a man who is truly in love

May 24, 2013

after Law & Order: SVU, 15×01 “Surrender Benson”

I turn 25 in

a twin bed built for a

college student meet my

family for birthday

dinner and while over-

sized portions of beans and

rice and enchiladas

settle and the staff sings

Feliz Cumpleanos

over Fried Ice Cream, I

am trying not to cry

Everything is fine, I

tell myself, a mantra

so constant I don’t know

where I start and it ends.

I am lost unsure who

I am unsure why I

should celebrate this day

blow out the candle, smile

at my family, and

wonder what they would do

if they knew how often

I think about my death

it’s the second quarter

of my life and I am

tired of pretending

pretending I know what

I want pretending I 

know who I am pretend-

ing every decision

I’ve made over the last

two years has been the right

one pretending I do

not wish that everything

was, that I was different

that I could breathe without

wanting to up and die

in a different uni-

verse, somewhere in New York

between Westhampton and

Montauk, there is a beach

home painted grey with wood

shake siding and a brick

chimney and whitewashed french

colonial doors it

is quiet, mostly, the

owners spend winter in

the city it is just

before Memorial

Day and they haven’t yet

come back for the summer

tepid water laps at

the foundation and the

empty field it faces

(really more of a swamp)

means the dead-end road is

eerie and private, just

perfect for relaxing

Long Island summers the

occasional weekend

getaway and torture

if you’re standing near the

house at the right time, you

can hear a woman scream

after nearly four days

of brutal physical

and cruel emotional

torture, bloodied and bruised

she stands over his limp

body his hands cuffed to

the wrought iron bed frame

momentarily she

considers torturing

him back but pauses drops

the blow torch she’d tested

in a flash he’s awake,

goading her from his cuffed

position on the floor

she tries to take it in

stride, keep her wits about

her, but she can’t seem to

with all the strength she can

muster, she pushes through

her broken wrist, cracked ribs

and concussion picks up

a metal bar and moves

beats him nearly to death

just before wrapping her

hands around the metal

bar, she catches herself

in the mirror she is

distraught exhausted feels

broken alone unsure

who she is or why she

is trying to survive

I know a terrified

and lost little girl when

one sees her reflection

I looked a terrified 

and lost little girl in

the eye on that same day,

in my own universe

we don’t share trauma, but

we move forward in such

similar ways we try

to let other people

in and we try to heal

no one ever tells you

that trauma rewires your

brain they just expect you

to figure out that it

has and that to mend, you

(and only you) have to

do something about it

it takes years for me for

Her, sometimes we wonder

“how did I become this

happy?” and other times,

it’s “why am I so sad?”

eventually, we see

questioning who you are

who your trauma has pushed

you to be isn’t bad

it isn’t wrong it does

the one thing you always

assumed that trauma could

never do, for you learn

that it doesn’t break you

it makes you

Melissa Boles (she/her) is a Salt Lake City-based writer and an impatient optimist who believes that storytelling is humanity’s most incredible miracle. You can find her work at melissaboles.com, and you can always find her on Twitter, talking about writing, mental health, and her love of film and television, at @melloftheball.

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