I was never a crowbar.

I could never shuck you open with all the padlocks

you placed

in my path,

but I’ve let you go too many times to think you’d be gone forever.

Sewed a lotus petal to my lapel,

cast stones at salt pillars

and chained myself to a sinking ship.


It’s an amazing thing

to realize

that one does not have to suffer,


that life

is the marrow,


the snake venom,


the Medusa vein.




Melissa Rose has been a member of the spoken word community since 2001. She is a creator, slam master and host of the Palo Alto Poetry Slam. She was a team member and coach of Palo Alto’s National Poetry Slam Team in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2014. Melissa has performed her poetry all over the United States and Germany and was a featured poet at the German National Poetry Slam in 2010. She is currently the Executive Director of S.I.R.E.N., a non profit program that empowers teen girls through spoken word. To learn more about Melissa, visit melissarosepoetry.com.