Melissa was a nymph
who fed baby Zeus honey.
Cronos punished her
for it, changed her
into an earthworm.
A grateful Zeus would later
transfigure her into the honeybee.
She became the scientific name
for lemon balm: Melissa officinalis.
And that is where we begin
Melissa Renée Suzanne
Renée, the reborn. Suzanne, the lily.
that brash park keeper.
rounded and heavy hill tender,
a slope settlement,
to chosen Jørgenrud,
flat Norwegian farmland
beside cold water.
Melissa sounds like a shushing,
a blue breeze lullaby
over the honeybee’s incessant toiling.
M e l i s s a
Name of iambs: ReNÉE SuzANNE
Trochee surnames: PAR ker HEL ton
to this soft dactyl JØR genrud
Parker: a gate shut and latched –
Helton: a round of boulder plopping on moss, one bounce –
In an American mouth, Melissa Jørgenrud
sounds like the slip of the green aurora lights,
quick, shallow, arial– jor—
Jorgenrud– the J and light or
In Norsk, Melissa Jørgenrud
sounds like a workhorse snorting steam,
then stamping newly-thawed ground– yore—
Melissa Jørgenrud– the ø throwing my name
on the back of your tongue where it sinks
before you fling it front and out.
Every 20 years, my name further
dissolves and smoothes, taming
park, hill, farm,
but always land
to hold earthworm
reborn as a honeybee, lemon balm,
lily, the toil of insect, soil microbe,
and footed human, loam and bloom,
pollen amber sugar
in capped little hexagons
fed to a baby god, always human eye
surveying across the mountain,
across the pitch and heave of land,
across the furrows sleeping
under snow, always a gateless
stone fence boundary
between the tended and the wild,
the given and the chosen.