autobio – day seven

Allure of echinoderm symmetry

We marveled gasping in sea[wage] wa[te]r


My mom shook the Etch a Sketch with vigor

At the attachment a variation

We were trees we were leaves we were litter


This habit of margins

No scientific names found

Long, divided – but extending

Sometimes the wings are dark, especially in females


We chased balloons in the rain

Developed unique body plans

If I tattoo you with flowers, it will be a kind of protection

If I eat Lays with my Grandma, it will be connection

We avoided the porn, adjusted the Craftmatic


Distinguished from other brittle stars

Distinguished from the bottom-dweller

The rapture of pentaradial force

The wrath of a sessile ancestor


Oh, calcareous fatty deposits

Oh, carton of YiaYia’s Winstons

Yellow calla lilies callow in the breeze


We wanted a gut of snakes

We wanted a mouth teeming with stars


*italicized phrases appropriated from

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Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including the forthcoming trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa now lives in Mendocino County where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at

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