Melissa Barrett


        —lines from Craigslist personal ads

Hi. I react really badly to Pine-Sol. My eyelids swell up and my eyes
turn bright red. I am a REAL woman. It is January 1, 2014.
Educated men move to the top of the list.
We were both getting gas Wednesday evening. Fish counter, Giant Eagle:
My husband knows how attractive I find you.
You caught me singing loudly. Your name means “wind.”
This Christmas season marks my eighth year of being single.
Please have a car (truck preferably) and a job.
I collect candles and have two grown children who are on their own now
thank God. I already bought your birthday present—
It’s a tie. With swordfish on it. There are certain things
my nose can’t handle and smoking is one of them.
I signed up to volunteer at a local park for a Merry not Scary
trick or treat trail—it would be nice to have a companion.
Must be willing to be seen in public with a size 16 woman.
I’m a little bigger, but not sloppy-fat. Six one four five eight
two three one nine. I can swing a hammer and am a pro
at putting on make-up. Sexiness to me is you
plus a photographic memory. Do you have questions
you’ve always wanted to ask a woman? You left your receipt
and that’s how I figured out your name. I was behind you
at the Lane Avenue Starbucks drive thru and you paid
for my grande nonfat, no whip Mocha Frapp.
Your silver hair was gorgeous. Wow. The first time
we made love our souls connected and intertwined
and seemed to remember they were destined for one another.
Let’s go to the shooting range. I have no business expertise,
but I’d love a guy who is good with rope.

Melissa Barrett's poems have recently appeared in Narrative, Gulf Coast, Web Conjunctions, and Best New Poets 2013. She is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, a Tin House writer's scholarship, and a Galway Kinnell Scholarship from Squaw Valley's Community of Writers.