imperfect daughter | Melissa Houghton

i just want to be my imperfect self

Melissa Houghton

I just want to be the imperfect daughter, the one who
borrowed thousands of dollars and never returned the money.
The one who spent her savings on gambling and psychics,
the one who said nasty things about her parents on social media.
I just want to be the imperfect girlfriend, the one who
contemplated upgrading to another man and ignored her
boyfriend when he wasn’t making her feel special. The one who
ordered him about and made him feel like he couldn’t get anything right.
I just want to be the imperfect friend, the one who
only called when she wanted a favor. The one who dominated
the conversation and got bored when it veered to something else.
I want to double-cross and gossip, backstab, blame, compete.
I just want to be the imperfect citizen, the one who
had the right to remain silent, and did so. The one who refused
to implicate herself, the one who wouldn’t follow the policy
and do things “by the book” if it would further suffering.
to those who “try”

do not try.

Melissa Houghton

do not get distracted.
do not look at the flowers on the path,
the tulips that ruminate to themselves.
do not get sick from the blood swallow.
get into it, whether it’s devoid
does not belong to your cause.
rugged individual you are.
do not stop, signs outlined in white
are optional.
do not get handcuffed by a cop,                          a feeling, a caress.
even a breeze sparks bereavement.
even an anvil will tickle.
just ask the coyote,
just ask my mother,
just ask yourself,
and just move on
to something else.
we are something
else we are nothing.                          we are in this together
this is a test
this is a good test
life is a test
life is a testament to your goodness.
for goodness sake,
push off with the toe,
don’t mosey,
for goodness sake,
you are watching 
your life 


Melissa Houghton

Melissa Houghton
A robotic scan of

Cans. Jar of pickles.

Box of Wheaties. The

Eye sees dinner, but

A musical ear hears

Music. Someone with

Perfect pitch might be

Able to identify the sound.

Key of “A.” Doesn’t this

Strike you as strange?

To be asked how your

Day was? And is…going?

Little is it known, that

This mandate, not only

To ask, but to answer, is

A type of force, subtle

Abuse. Wake up people!

Use self-checkout when

At all possible. The key

Of “A-buse” will not be

Lost on you.

Melissa Houghton received her MFA in poetry in 2008 from Oregon State University and spent the last 13 years in some form of educator role, including a teaching position in Korea through a Fulbright Grant. Made in Korea. Raised in South Dakota. Living in Portugal. Traveling the world. These poems also appear in the April issue of The BeZine, Celebrating interNational Poetry MonthVisit her website.

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