10.26.2018

Weekly poem on Trump Presidency

 

MICHELLE BITTING

Tender Cages

When the baby first comes home
all pink-lipped and gooey-eyed
you lay her down
tenderly
not wanting to startle
raw nerves, new bones
all 206
still pliable
this being good
because like dough
may shape into anything
according to comfort, milk
a view of the sky
she’ll reach towards someday
the flexibility
of freshness
that can also go wrong
depending on circumstance
on creed on accident on discriminating harm                
her fierce little fist
a rose in a thunderstorm
outside the tent
of placenta, that wild red sea
beats its music within
its primitive own
We just the keepers
gifted jobs
of protection, of giving her
a chance
to grow her delicate core
slippery with rain
a musk-milled forest. So
to not shield her
most intimate places
where spirits huddle
like small animals
sorting it out
To not swear allegiance
no harm will come
To not pass a hand over
the crevice of her crown
(we can all agree to that, right?)
some spots too tender
to be left exposed
would be a crime
would cut you in half
you’d scream bloody murder
We can all agree
where babies are concerned
disruption must be avoided
anything that rips
opens or tears apart
limbs, life, lines
marking permanent damage
an eruption, for instance
at a point in the poem
can ruin everything
a heart
a winched away wing
severed from the body
from the song of its mama
tumbles across
a windy desert
carried we know not where
maybe
some kinder flower
catches its edge
feeds it
a little shade a
little mercy
maybe
for a moment
we really don’t know
where to shelter from
this imposter sun
so clearly set
on turning us to dust

—-


Michelle Bitting won the 2018 Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, and a fourth collection, Broken Kingdom won the 2018 Catamaran Prize. Her third collection is The Couple Who Fell to Earth (C & R Press), named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2016. She has poems published in The American Poetry Review, NarrativeThe New York Times, The Los Angeles Review, Vinyl Poetry, Plume, Diode, Tabula Poetica, Tupelo Quarterly, the Paris-American, AJP, Green Mountains Review, Catamaran, and others. Michelle joined the faculty at Loyola Marymount University this fall as a Lecturer in Poetry and Creative Writing Studies. www.michellebitting.com