In the waiting room of the hospital

Mela Blust



i read in a magazine that an oyster dies
after it creates a pearl.

i think of how we siphon droplets of the world
into our shells,
how we deftly surf the pain
despite the scale of the wave.

i watch you, iridescent in the joy of play,
still blissful ignorance of youth
and think of all that will be siphoned
through your shell.

and i nod in determination, biting my lip,
knowing the surge that will come,
and knowing how to make something shiny
from the pain.

i have held you through nightmares, fever dreams,
low oxygen, tremors, projectile vomiting,
trying to tear out your iv,
and almost death.

i have held your crushed hopes
in my hands
like so much broken glass.

now I will hold the grit of your deepest ache,
and, after years of turning it hard in my hands
i will help you crush it into a pearl;
something beautiful your soul will wear

like a necklace,
like armor.

and after the pearl is made,
i will not let you
be consumed.




Mela Blust is a Pushcart Prize and three time Best of the Net nominee, and has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, Rust+Moth, The Nassau Review, The Sierra Nevada Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Collective Unrest, and many more. Her debut poetry collection, Skeleton Parade, is available with Apep Publications, and her full length collection, They Found a Woman’s Body, is available through Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. Mela is a contributing editor for Barren Magazine and can be followed at