Daniel Meltz

Cataclysmic Paternity
August 18, 2022 Meltz Daniel



There’s the you at birth and the you that’s taught and the you you concocted.
It’s tricky to keep them separate.
All of them are you.


(It isn’t tricky to keep them separate if you’ve titrated them to a roughly similar temperature.
Think Jane Goodall and James Baldwin.
Think Gertrude Stein and the greats of the baseball diamond.) (The ones who didn’t drink.)


But here you are, drinking, trying to reconcile the three murky yous
as you settle into drink number three
and the stopper slides from the stem of the golden hydrogen balloon
that landed on your lawn
(mammary of lamé deflation)
which at first you thought was a stray crustacean
and then you thought was a UFO.


All of these are hints to the schizo reconciliation.
You’re an alien and a crab and a gleaming surprise on a lawn.
You’ll never really know how it got there,
wrinkling and softening, rubbery and depressed.
Grand opening? lawn party? fugitive from three states over sent to scare your inner bejesus?
But leave it for now.
Keep it that way.
Nothing bad happened.

Daniel Meltz is a retired technical writer and teacher of deaf adults. His poetry’s been published in Best New Poets 2012, American Poetry Review, Salamander, upstreet, Imitation Fruit, Columbia Review, Talking Writing, Audio Zine, Temenos, Assisi, Mudfish, CCAR Journal, Verse Wisconsin, and other journals. He has a BA in English from Columbia and lives in Manhattan and Queens.