Melinda Coppola

twenty four may | from the inside out

Melinda Coppola

twenty four may | from the inside out

I’m so pleased to share two poems that were published today in Mutha Magazine. These two are part of  the full-length poetry book I’ve been working on for years.  I finally finished the manuscript  in January, and sent it out to a number of  publishers. Now it’s a waiting game!  You can read the magazine here:  The poems by themselves are below.


You only caught glimpses
of your child
as he sped through toddlerhood
towards those labels
that mean everything
and nothing:
child, tween, teen, young adult.

Glimpses, you say,
as if it all tornadoed past you
while I stood stupefied,
hands in pockets,
by the side of some dusty cow path,
a perpetual look of dull
surprise on my unremarkable face.

Truth is,
over here our lives
are nothing like that.

My daughter and I have plodded along
like turtles in the too-hot sun,

pausing every few feet
to rest, to allow her
a few attempts at integrating
the latest sensory assault,

which could have been a wind
shaking the branches too fast,
or the distant sound
of a jake brake on a downhill semi
from a highway half a mile away.

Her needs are special,
which means our shimmy
is your slow dance,
our milestones
seem like simple addition
to your kid’s calculus.

I’m used to it,
adept at appreciating
the kinds of beauty
that decorate this life
that chose me, and her.

It’s not the pace of it all
that leaves me sweaty
and gasping for breath.

It’s my head spinning
as other children date
and learn to drive,
go to college,
get married,
have babies,
buy a house,

flying so far from nests
their parents can’t squint enough
to make out the tiny dot
their bodies make
as they soar onward,
commanding the skies.


What You Mean

I tell our story
at times from desperation
since you will surely outlive me.

The larger world ought to know
something of your shimmers—
the way you hear colors in every song,
can turn a pun deftly
without knowing the meaning of the words,
will readily recall, decades later,
the exact date
a person scolded you.

Sometimes, I write from untamed desire
to be generous with your innocence,
for every community seems fraught
with deception and guile.

The purity with which you see—
almost minimalist in its lack of gray areas—
would surely lighten, lift, and soothe.

The  bad days you call “tall-haired boys”
The good ones  “long-haired girls”

You are given a gift you don’t like.
Why must you pretend you do?

You chose 5:15 for your dinner.
It’s now 5:18.
Why is the dinner late?
At 1 p.m. he said
Be with you in a minute.
It’s now 1:09.

Why shouldn’t you get upset?
You have taught me,
among other things,
we cannot keep our eye
on any grand old flag,
nor do we peel our eyes
or keep them on a prize somewhere.

If we can hear
we cannot turn a deaf ear to anything.
A new chapter
means the next part of a book,
not a life.
Nobody has real butterflies
inside their stomachs.

Your questions
refresh with their honesty,
jostle assumptions,
make space for wonder.
And folks are hungry for wonder.

So I write
and share
asking along with you—
Why don’t people say what they mean?


Thanks so much for reading!


–Melinda Copppola



2 Responses

  1. WOW both just stunning! The intensity of your day to day lives…. The energy it takes to maintain contact with so called society, whatever that is, when you are largely in another world, vibration, universe, is, albeit so quietly, EPIC. Thank you for sharing. Your lives gift humanity.

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