The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City

Melisa Malvin-Middleton: 2 Poems Published

Poems by Melisa Malvin-Middleton (USA)

Published in The Ofi Press issue 49



Wild Mustard (Hirschfeldia incana)


Tang and heat

behind my teeth.

You were wild,

spice pestled into bowl

woven of yucca thread

that knits a memory-hope:


    my father in bucket hat,

    elevating me

    onto sun-warmed boulders

    where lizards perch and king snakes coil.

    I could live off the land—

    by roadsides and sandy fields,

    along trails that wind,

    brush that hides the lioness.

    But the aureolin fuel

    convalesces with costal sage,

    two conspirators explode

    like the molten sky, citrine,

    and vanish into grey Pacific.


Hand-pulled by my father,

I was assured

you weren’t poison.

I learned by example,

tasting the weed I thought was gold.




The hum


of helicopter blades

gives rise to a police parade.


Spotlight on starlit

home in hills, it rides


curves of Mulholland,

traces a widow’s peak


down steep slopes,

trampling tundra


over hawk canopy

of gopher hammocks,


or rattlesnake abode

near coyote lair.






Diaphanous haze meets

mote-float tango.


Tracing vortex tips,

through rotor slice cacophony.


Hover the bones

made ill by Santa Anas.


Wrestles the night

like a migraine coma.


Perp or perv screwed

courage to the sticking place


under barbs and thorns,

safe in crawlspace


by screened talisman

warding off pendulum divination


of angel light and demon noise

lulling me to sleep.

About the Poet

Melisa Malvin is a Los Angeles poet, playwright, and musician who teaches writing at California State University, Northridge and College of the Canyons. Her work has been performed by Fresh Produce’d and Savage Players. In fall 2016, her chapbook will be out with Yak Press. For more information visit

Image: "Spiral" by Anders Sandberg.