Melinda’s Long Scarf Syndrome

Melinda stores memories inside chickens – uncaring birds.

Buys groceries.

Eats. Cleans. Makes a cup of tea.

Sitting by her window she knits long scarves. Hobbies are a good thing.

It all feels like calling home and speaking in a foreign accent, or like a strange cat sitting on her armchair.


Melinda used to have her rooms full of nightingales. Sometimes she flashed them at people.

Well, she is only human.


But counting nightingales before they sing all their songs is a cheater.


It comes as a missed train, as rain inside the brain; as unequal exchange, torn page, minimum wage. It comes as derealization, depersonalization, as minding the gap but still getting your foot stuck in it; as varicose vein, chest pain, not so sweet martha lorraine. It comes as blue, to paint blue the heart; as human factor, x-factor, max factor. It comes as grabbing hands, twisted arms, naked light bulbs; as consumable products, consumable contacts; as dropping leaves, dropping hints, dropping names (even her name has gone out of fashion). It comes as untied love knots, as mispronouncing your deepest thoughts. It comes as leaving, it comes as staying; it comes as anything, as everything.

Some call it fate, say it spreads like butter on a staircase.

Others the biggest joke there is.


One day Melinda didn’t feed her oven.

She took no nonsense from dishes who claim the road to feelings is perplexed.

She gulped down all tendencies to be nice to herself.

First she had a tall drink.

The world was off somewhere, grinning at caged giraffes, taking pictures of quaint cottages or bloodsucking.

Millions of fibers clinging to each other, loop chains growing longer and longer.


Fate was Melinda knitting scarves, pushing the needle with a bruised thumb.

Making a big bad loop, she turned herself into a hanging ornament

while a ladybird was passing outside her window.


MELINDA’S LONG SCARF SYNDROME was originally published on Rat’s Ass Review, Winter 2017 Issue, 10/12/2017

©️ Basilike Pappa 2017 – All Rights Reserved


And now I see well beyond your sword,

your armed perfection.

It was my fault: in you I saw my reflection.

But no more: I’ve cupped your face too many times

and drank your lips too many times – I was nowhere in that cup.

There was only you:

dressed in carmine jealousy,

reciting spleeny poetry,

recycling it all into amour,

clanging your armor.

The day I knew you were a barking portrait I laughed myself to your death.

No more words embroidered with moss, I said.

No more shouting all the names of nonsense

or seeing omens in lights that bleed yellow, green and red.

I left.

For that, I’m always in my debt.


DELUDEND was originally published on Rat’s Ass Review, Love and Ensuing Madness Collection, August 5, 2016


Basilike Pappa