“I crumble like wine cork and survive”: Three Poems by S.M. Ellis

Missing Person(s)
You wind your way to me again,
doted-on brother I do not have.

Any more tea and I’m sick writing letters in the dark
to the trash

and where you have traveled to
in my flesh, is anyone’s guess.

I’m here.
No visitors for my open house.
I’m here.

In the living room
my vacuum keeps running, this throat drones one song,
I was born the wrong animal.



A Canto in Basque

I get sick gargling this sea and singing
to the rope around my waist.

My self won’t share the mannequin
I am tied to:     I
feel it fall down,

too ashamed to say we’re human
as glaciers mumbled in the arctic.

Now bundled in bed like the dead
I can’t sleep
when I look up, the sky looks down,

someone keeps miscounting my welts.

A new neighbor I only know by sound
is the rhumba thumping my chest.

My mail’s delivered to his box
but he can’t catch me
when I’m home.




I crumble like wine cork and survive
my bloody noses     uses tissue
to scoop the lost backs of your earrings
or my hand is one hoop whispering

“I move through you and encircle myself”

how my father put condoms in the shed
and couldn’t stop the urge to juggle.

Give him a diamond, he makes a drill.

The air insinuates garlic like a secret, ear to ear:
see my face in silverware, see pantries of perishables,
crayon to x-out the cities I visit.

The map wins out.
Once the trash bin gets upended
your tampon peels, bound then not,

the way my father sanded at his workbench

I watch his arm crank back and forth
as the wood gave in.



S.M. Ellis writes and lives in New York City.

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