Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

My head aches – I stayed too late at the party.

Oh, it was a nice time, shining and sparkling

and smiling beautiful people. We were celebrating something.

Curled now on my sofa, wrapped in a quilt

I drink organic, bitter coffee I ground myself in my electric machine

and brewed in another electric machine while toasting bread

in my other electric machine.

I turn on my laptop after swallowing painkillers

and brown eyes of orphans stare into mine,

darker squinting eyes of adults, brown faces and exploding

rubble behind them beneath headlines of chaos and large numbers

in a place I’d never heard of before a few months ago.

I should have slept in.


My head pounds.

I’ve never had such a headache, but then I did have those cocktails

last night. It was an open bar after all

and we were celebrating something.

Too many pink desserts filled with too much sugar were

soft down my throat with butter and cream.

My stomach turns and twists.

The coffee is too strong.

My screen mentions the four-year anniversary

of that one school shooting

where the smallest of us were taken

away unbelievably small unbelievable heartbreak.


My head aches more and I am shivering even

with the quilt and coffee.

Perhaps a migraine. Perhaps I’ll turn the thermostat to warmer,

take a hot shower, lie on my bed.

I hope I can sleep this off.

I turn on the radio as my head drops into my feather pillow.

I hear there is oil spilling miles away

into rivers and the ice prevents proper clean-up.

How many black gallons I cannot imagine.

Perhaps it is only a small river that doesn’t feed

anything important.

Skipping the shower because I am dizzy, I click

the voice off before it can say more

about people halfway around the world

are they waking or sleeping?

I wonder and close my eyes to sleep it off

The music and dancing last night

What was it we were celebrating?

Melanie Burdick lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her husband and children, and teaches writing at Washburn University.

Guest editor Dennis Etzel Jr. lives with Carrie and the boys in Topeka, Kansas where he teaches English at Washburn University. He has two chapbooks, The Sum of Two Mothers (ELJ Publications 2013) and My Graphic Novel (Kattywompus Press 2015), a poetic memoir My Secret Wars of 1984 (BlazeVOX 2015), and Fast-Food Sonnets (Coal City Review Press 2016).

Comments on: "Hangover — by Melanie Burdick" (1)

  1. Claire Friedman said:

    out on a limb writing-keep at it

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