'#metoo' & 'Samhain': Two Poems by Melissa Tyndall


For Barbara Coombes

Long before we named monsters,

believed in them, I toiled in his garden—

turned soil, tended his thrifts, cowslips,

the burnt-tips of orchids. Inside,

he revisited images of stark naked

children. The seed of memory

blossomed back. He exposed me

to strangers, let them photograph

my bare parts before he touched me,

made me sister-mother, before

our infant son died. I can’t

remember if I called my father’s

name before I raised the shovel,

didn’t realize I swung until it rang

out against the back of his head

like a gong, a bell, like freedom—

not until he turned into the wet

thwack of the second strike, until

I rolled him in the rug, pulled

his body into the garden under

his favorite elm tree. At night,

I can almost hear him speak

from my bedroom window despite

a mouthful of dirt, the slash

of my spade across his throat.



We pull on our masks

and place lanterns

in western-facing windows,

illuminate the path

a new moon leaves dark—

her swollen orb

absent. Tonight, the world

unhinges, unearths

the fallen— shadows stretching

across graveyards.

We beckon them back to helm

family tables,

to remember the warmth of home

and hearthfire.


Melissa Tyndall holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Murray State University. Her poems have appeared in Number One, Prism international, Red Mud Review, Words + Images, Sixfold, Gamut, The Ekphrastic Review, Coffin Bell Journal and Dark Marrow. Her work is also forthcoming in Sugared Water. The writer, professor, and Supernatural fangirl lives in Nashville with her partner and her daughter, who she hopes will prefer terrors over tiaras.

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