2: melissa fondakowski


melissa fondakowski

Melissa Fondakowski’s work has appeared in several magazines and journals including Santa Clara Review, Lodestar Quarterly, Blue Fifth Review and Girlfriends magazine. A 22-page chapbook of her poetry entitled Impatiens was the winner of the 2001 Sow’s Ear Review Poetry Chapbook Competition and was published in 2002. She lives in Oakland and blogs at Poet With a Day Job.





Limpid spring rains, a bumble
and the proximity of another tree;

sun, time and thumbs to pinch
the plum curculio before she oviposits

into the crescent-shaped cut
on the green globe.

Many hands make this Red
Delicious, who is herself

a hand in bringing breath
to animals, water to the table

and a bee to The Rapture,
its sugar-heavy wing beat

tree to shining tree the key
to bringing forth apples.



The alarm goes and it’s another day
about me. I hit the snooze pretending
not to hear, pretending I think
of others; what will I do today
to be of service, find a purpose?
Oh, please just five more minutes
for my troubles.

When it goes again the numbers
reflect a reality I cannot deny:
the only thing I have time left to do
is pour cat food and sweep my hand
three times down her rich black back
and water the plants. I tire
already at how much I have to do
to keep everyone happy.

And then I hear the brash honk of a Harpo horn
and rush to the door to find the source
of this circus noise, expecting to see
a dawn of clowns rolling
down the block, waving
big foam fingers at me, shouting to the rooftops-

Get up, Melissa! This is a day to
partake in the delights of man!

They don’t know how afraid I am
of clowns, how creepy
their powder masques,
their hidden agendas.

But when I get there I find
it is only geese, a pair
of long-necked spartans
stretching effortlessly across my corner
of baby blue sky, sounding perfectly
like pure joy.


6:30 a.m., Farm

The moon looms low and ominous:
a Host in the firmament’s monstrance.

I blow into my cupped hands, footfalls
crunching the season’s first frost.
Frozen crystals shimmer on brittle leaves;
the last squashes in the garden are lost.

Steers on the hillside heave for their hay;
nervous chickens duck and shimmy.
In the shadow of a snowy peak, I break a bale
then scatter a bucket of scratch on the ground.

I turn toward the rising sun and my next chore
and notice the sudden coyote watching me,
two streams of steam blown from his nose
into the morning cold.

My breath catches in my throat
as if faced with my own reflection
and finding it much different
from the one I’ve come to know.

Yards apart we stand,
eye-locked, as if waiting
for some signal or sound to snap us out
of this strange silence

then the coyote simply turns away
and lopes home. A horizon of woodsmoke

cuts the cold promise of winter.
Howling echoes over the boneyard.




on the nightstand…


am loving..


what inspires you about the fall?

Change. The crispness that hovers in the air. Preparation for what’s to come. I feel very prolific in autumn. I’ve often compared myself to the sugar maple tree: I play all spring and summer, then come Fall, I am at my most creative: my sweetest syrup flows freely into bucket after bucket. By winter, well, I’m ready for movies and hibernation.


what are three constants in your day?

  1. my morning single-serving french press coffee with heavy cream
  2. my own personal Pandora Radio station on headphones at work
  3. my 14-year old cat

19 thoughts on “2: melissa fondakowski

  1. I love these! One was completely new and the others were incredibly well revised. L’Shana Tovah indeed! Very rich, your internal rhymes are exquisite and your images so evocative. Love love love.

  2. Nice work! Favorite lines:

    “its sugar-heavy wing beat
    tree to shining tree”

    Keep them coming! Nic

  3. So beautiful. Each one their own and yet tied together. Your sweetest syrup truly does flow freely into bucket after bucket. I just love your words.

  4. The other way you’re like a sugar maple, is that as the years go by you continue to get more majestic. I love these poems- they’re true like always, and more beautiful than ever.

    thanks for sharing! xo

  5. I loved the poem Geese. The connection between geese calling and clowns. So inventive. I loved the suprise gift of it. To expect a circus and find birds flying. Loved it.

  6. Adored the poems “Geese” and “Farm”…….
    Particularly loved the last two stanzas of “Geese”–very ethereal.
    In Farm, I had a true sense of “identity”–that the voice speaking is literally a “part” or extension of the Farm, and vice-versa.
    I had read your poem about apples(“Domestication”) before. It is melodic, and lovely!
    Great work!
    Peace, kid.

  7. my favorite stanza…

    My breath catches in my throat
    as if faced with my own reflection
    and finding it much different
    from the one I’ve come to know.

    this can be related to all women during the many stages of their lives as they age and stare at their reflection in the mirror, hoping to catch a glimpse at the girl they once knew.

    thank you!

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