Nostalgia for the Absolute by Melissa Cundieff-Pexa


The crows nest in a tree with a plaque, some place a football player in summer training
got struck by lightning and died. It was the 60’s and all the young girls who loved him

and all the mothers and fathers planted the tree where he fell. There’s nothing
special about his name, William. It makes me think of any football field, the girls

whose toes get muddy from the steps taken up, down the bleachers. Their blonde hair straight
like church windows that flood then burn with light. Those blue eyes turn up when asked

anything. Like, no way to that “death-tree” which resembles the silhouette of the weird girl,
an ecology taking shape as she poses on the turf, equating the blackness of night to a shade

of burial. That’s like my friend Therese who, high one night, drove her car to the edge
of a lake and got shot and killed by a stranger. I suppose there’s nothing special about her name

either, though in Greek she is Reaper. If I imagine her now she’s reappearing from beneath
the bleachers, a halo of gun smoke rising from her black t-shirt’s center. Another O coming

from her mouth. Darkest bowl of stars yet, even when mapped with something bronze
and engraved. An easiest tactic of heartbreak as if to tame, not hurt, the worm that grows inside.

To show the crows that the coins can be plucked after all from our friends’ eyes and dropped
where we like yesterday’s leaves forget to ever look.




Melissa Cundieff-Pexa received an MFA from Vanderbilt and will pursue a PhD at Binghamton University in fall 2015. The recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and two Pushcart nominations, her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in journals such as Bat City, Mid-American, Gargoyle, Phantom Limb, Fjords, Iron Horse, and The Collagist, among others. The author of a chapbook, Futures with Your Ghost, she lives in Ithaca, NY with her family.