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Writer of the Month: Melissa Ashley Hernandez for April 2021

My pick for April 2021's writer of the month is a talented Latinx poet, writer and editor, and her poem, Pollyanna, is a tapestry of observation, empathy, and self-acceptance.


The Writer

Melissa is a Latinx writer and the author of The Love in Between (2021). She is the founding EIC of The Minison Project and is published in Fahmidan Magazine, Versification Zine, The Daily Drunk Magazine, and The Minison Zine. Her short story, “The Rum Keg Girl”, will feature in Paranormal Contact: A Quiet Horror Confessional (Spring 2021, Cemetery Gates Media), and her short story, “Lady Killer,” will feature in Volume 4 of Kandisha Press’ Women of Horror Anthology (2021). You can find this poem among the pages of her debut chapbook, The Love in Between, whose reading links can be found on her website: https://melissaashleyhernandez.com


The Poem

Pollyanna (from The Love in Between)

This afternoon, I fell in love with the grocer

as she scrunched up her nose, searching

for the barcode on my bread.

When I left the store, I fell in love with a passing father

lifting his tired daughter to nap on his chest.

As I walked down the street, I fell in love

with a homeless woman and her hungry tabby cat,

sharing a meal together on the sidewalk.

When I got to my car, balancing bags, I fell in love

with the man who opened my door.

Pulling into my driveway, I fell in love with my neighbor's son,

who was watering his elderly mother's garden.

Later that night, having seen the beauty

of so many, I, at last, fell in love,

tentatively, with the face whose lines

I traced on the foggy bathroom mirror.

A smile on her face.


The Inspiration behind 'Pollyanna'

As busy humans living through the difficulties of life, I feel as though we often focus too strongly on the negative. So much so, in fact, that we miss the beauty in the little things. I really wanted to capture the happiness that we find throughout our day to day. Much like Hayao Miyazaki’s goal throughout his films, I wanted to throw a spotlight on the “beauty of the everyday”.


The Debut Chapbook: ' The Love in Between '

The Love in Between, the debut book by Melissa Ashley Hernandez, is a spectacular compilation of 24 poems which cover a wide range of topics, from racism and growing up in different cultures to life in the pandemic. Each poem brings to light the intimate aspects of Hernandez's life and her experiences that pull you in and bring you along for a ride of nostalgia and heartbreak.


As Melissa says herself, "I focus very strongly on interpersonal relationships and the journey of self. I use poetry as a guide for my growth, and I like to write it in a way that other people can relate to it, even if they do not have the same issues. I firmly believe reading to be therapeutic, so if my poem can touch, even just one heart, I will have done what I set out to do."


Melissa Ashley Hernandez's debut chapbook 'The Love Between" is available in both kindle and paperback. You can find her on twitter @machwriting, instagram @melissamachwriting and Facebook.





Disclaimer: EMC's Writer of the Month series seeks to promote the artist and their featured writing and is in no way an endorsement of any of said artist's services, opinions or other work outside of this feature.