Also in this issue, Melissa’s interviews with Emma Jones and Orlando White and her review of Bone Light by Orlando White.


Read more of Melissa Buckheit’s work from Noctilucent at Shearsman Books


Contributor Notes

Melissa Buckheit

Melissa Buckheit

Melissa Buckheit

Light Which Is Not an Axe in the Forest of the Unconscious


“Light” “which is not an Axe.”  Eleni Sikelianos


“Sometimes likeness from anywhere, sometimes this      likeness here.”  – Jacques Roubaud, trans. Rosemarie Waldrop

       for Rachel Lehrman




     There is darkness inside of us,

                                and there is also light—


Light  like an axe             

                 in a forest shifting    cutting angles

     against wood

                              from the same source—


       this is not the same     and still


I lived it   so it was inside      (the self)


     the opaque body which catches against

                  a source of energy


     passing in angles   transforming      a forest

in the night


               dark / light      


                                 she described the loss like this—

   body :  nothing




In this dream, the lotus is faced down


tucked beneath the fading sun


or maybe floating in mid-air, engraved

                                    on a yellow and turquoise silk.



When I sat today, a great eye kept appearing

                                    in the field of my mantra


long black eyelashes & no iris, just a pupil



as in E.’s class I sit below a great


lotus-flower, primary-colored

                                                            which floats above my head


& when we turned to face the white wall,



In my dreams, I fly by extending my legs back,

                                                                        and balancing my weight

through my waist.

                                    I never flew as a child.  I don’t

think I ever floated.


                                                People had tied themselves


to a wrist, a child on a leash,


except I was leading.



I was the child.


Would you lie to me about exiting the birth canal,

                                                                 coccyx-first? No,


I don’t remember the obstetrician reaching


                        into her gut and pulling me away


from the pressure, gravity, through


the laceration.  Yes,


                                    she was a woman-doctor.  She left

a late-summer barbecue to deliver


a slick baby through the salted fluid.


She only anesthetized the spine,

                                                                        so we were both awake,

wakened from a dream, the lotus


                                             tilted up, 30 degrees, stirrups wide &


how she wouldn’t dilate; yes, we were breathing


I sneezed and our hearts stopped in unison,



                                                only a second, then


my crown peeking through the sticky pink eye,


we cried.





From a Ghost



In 1971, you were the almost skeleton figure

with a thin sheath of clothes,


moving between streets and cities


the angel inside yourself looked down

on asphalt streets covered

with bits of gravel, the remains of rain


remnants of exodus between western

and mid-western towns, father, mother



Far inside or out

of the people of the world,

we each move through

mind inside mind

with no words alive

for anyone who would speak to us.


You exited from streets, their black sleek

to the heart of an empty field

dry, golden bristles


the snowbank inert in your father’s chest,

in Wyoming,

beside the edge of the cold-tipped mountains,

in the far distance.


You entered empty,

your heart’s blood filling.