Sternum Words by Melissa Hobbs

Sternum Words
for Tom C.

I sit at your feet listening.
A torch of earth-core liquefies
and low pitches spray
from your mouth.
You, the tight-throated volcano
pump mineral ash to sprinkle
my glacial snow pages.

I stretch to catch
what doesn’t freeze
or burn my hands.
My baby volcano smolders.

With sternum words
you set me on fire.
I nod, not knowing how
to use your power to powder
my charcoal for words.

I have your fire stones
cooking in my basket
of ground grain.
Do I stir you
with mother’s walnut spoon
or silver tongs?


Melissa Hobbs’ passion revitalizes hearts in her writing. Retiring from regular work freed writing to fly from high-rises. She retrieves new writing after coaching high school freshmen, and working with Bhutanese refugee children. Her feet often return to Ohio’s rural paths, where she earned a degree at Kent State University.

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