Alexandra Melville

Alexandra Melville


…it wasn’t human nature to love
only what returns love.
                                     – Louise Glück

I’m in the aisle fondling the potatoes
through their plastic wrap:
wax cobbles,

an infant’s fat truncated limb,
a plump knee.

Pale gold nuggets
lumping tenderly in the sack.

So exposed: a tuber
rises in my throat.

A plastic veil between us now,
either side of a cling sheath — 

we’ve polished it to a high shine
with friction. It shifts 
like mercury under our touch,

tense, quick,

more plainly outlining what’s beneath,
more closely sealing off bounds.

We see clearly and apart:
lone Sputniks tracing over and over 
a surface untouchably below.

We feel the solidity of what is possible
but not the thing itself.

We bleat into the dark.

I dream it: wrapped in plastic,
transparent coverlet 
smoothing my face like a gloved hand;

McGoohan gone no more a-roving,
a huge blank ball 
absorbing my cries:

no getting away little spud —
no getting near, silent rotundity.

ALEXANDREA MELVILLE’s debut pamphlet how small we are, how little we know is published by Broken Sleep Books. Highly commended in the Forward Prize, her poetry has appeared in The Rialto, The Moth and The Interpreter’s House. Social media: @AdotMelville.