God and Planet

God and planet, Saturn ate his children, a last attempt to save
his own power, his own life—outside of time, which devoured
them all at the exact moment when nothing was left but a bundle
of rocks slick with blood, the very blood that began in him
long before his children’s bodies jumped fully formed from
their mother’s loins, long before she knew the sins of the father,
the sad sacrifice he’d make for his own sake. In what realm,

under what god, would Medea and Saturn be drawn to the same
place, cast together in the name of—not of love or family, but—
of evil and its parasite, neither one certain which came first. In this
incarnation, Medea, having chosen Saturn over Jason, once again
sacrificed her children so she might live in the shadow of red, red
power—not her own power this time, but his. This myth is about Saturn.
Medea and the children devoured by their freakish gnashing of teeth.

    What it Takes to Love

Picture, if you will, the blue breath of grief, the singular movement of hand
to chest, the desire to reach through flesh and bone and the flow of blood,

to caress the heart, to clutch it perhaps, in a vague attempt at quelling
the insistent rhythm that leaves us wondering how one foot falls in front

of the other, how two or three moments pass without notice, without tears, without
a friend’s breath against the back of the neck. So much rests in the courage

it takes to reach forward, to cast oneself into an embrace, to insist on the folding
of one body into another. Only in death, the loved one having fallen—at least

in our minds—off the face of the earth, do we find ourselves silent in the presence
of that which has forsaken our love for something whole and crisp and final.

    Flashback

These arms fold into breast and neck.
The reliving. Sadness leans in. Eye

and body engaged. As if it were
happening right now, all things repeat,

fully insist upon remembrance: my own
wrists baby fat and belted. Now.

ceaseless visits: men. Like the alto
tones of flame on oil, so many entries.


Even So

Mist on my lips, I turn toward sheets
heaved side to side, percale remnants
white like Mother the day I found her
frozen. Her eyes took their color
from holly, wild nylon.She was crazy.
Teeth ticking their own lives, the white
stream: her voice and I could not touch
her. Even so, I did not mind the snow.

    It has come to this

I must have dreamed this awful moment into existence, worried too much
over the day-to-day, busied myself wondering what life might be like
in the absence of so much time lost to movement through the necessary
repetition of work in the world. When I found myself home I listened
greedily to silence,breathed it in, embraced an insatiable appetite

for solitude and stillness. And now it has come to this: A voice
muddled by hesitation, by the sad, breathy resistance of a memory
that won’t quite gather words. A hand fraught with the hard
weight of its own weakness, refusing movement, insisting toward belly.
Legs in useless,spastic motion, forever resisting the weight
of a body intent on silencing itself, on bringing me up short.

    Had I known

I certainly would have saved these: the scent of patchouli thick as a path
my students followed to the chairs in my office—the ones I loved
to see them in; the quick turn toward knowing when my voice, thrown
into a classroom, met its target, caught someone off guard just enough
to make meaning; every first day of school; the callow belief
in my own perpetual youth. Had I known, these would be close at hand,
having been carefully preserved, not as afterthoughts but

at the very moments they fell into being. I didn’t, though. I did not know.


4 thoughts on “Poems
  1. Hi there. I found your blog online and like it. I am a writer with MS. I am putting together a poetry anthology by authors who have MS. The proceeds of this book will benefit the MS community in Dallas, TX, where I live. All poems talk to the MS experience. If you are interested in submitting poems to be published, please contact me. dallaswestie@gmail.com
    I will share with you the cover as well.
    Thank you!
    Jennifer Evans

  2. Jane Ann Devol Fuller

    These are lovely, Michelle, a blessing to read.

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