This Week, I Read Mela Blust’s Skeleton Parade

Image Credit: Andrés Gómez via Unsplash

“As children// we are /terrified of the monsters/under our beds//and as adults,/we willingly lie//beside them,” the speaker says in Mela Blust’s debut collection of poems, entitled Skeleton Parade.

Skeleton Parade is a goth chic collection of poems about sexual abuse, the accompanying anguish, healing, and empowerment. Blust’s ability to craft poems with precise wording and haunting tone is staggering. Blust’s voice is so strong—her voice and tone command attention as she takes her readers through her experiences as she bears witness and speaks her truth.

In the piece, “spit or swallow,” the speaker says,

“I am not a rehabilitation program for broken


 the weight is too great and

     and the anger is a ghost

         and the fear is a powdery moth choking my words

                     so I spit it out.

I don’t swallow anymore.”

It’s a brilliant moment, where the speaker reclaims her power over her past sexual abuse as she takes a sexual act and makes it an act of defiance.

In the piece, “phoenix,” the speaker says: “tug gently the red string/still connected to/the heart/open up, cut into, cry it out/if you are gentle/with yourself/you will love again.”

But that’s not where it ends. The speaker has found solace, but she isn’t about to lie down and let her abuser rest easy. This is what I love about this book. It packs a punch, literally and figuratively. The poem, “Skeleton Parade” is a bold Feminist anthem:

“you kicked me out of bed you tried to vote me out you tried to keep me quiet I am the bones/ piled high the secrets you buried the skeleton parade in your closet/ now shut your weak mouth/now close your delicate eyes /now take your fucking pills/i’m coming.”

Skeleton Parade is available for preorder through APEP Publications.


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