Michele Harris



Beside me you push out air
in chokes, ethyl strong.

I turn upside down
in bed, put my head

towards your bare feet. You bleat
the air in coughs and snores, kick

and turn in your sleep, thrashing
to breathe.


Your fingernails turned lithium-white,
lunula gone, the half moons

emptied out of you. Your scabbed
legs, your stomach that holds

nothing down, even the way
you shake means something.

Your musty kiss that goes
no further. You will stop

me from speaking of it:
something inside you

scars and swells and something
inside me shrinks and shrinks.


I walk until roads recede
and all is black dirt, bramble, veins

of trampled grass, and flowers inching up
under bald patches of sky, where light trickles

its yellow into them: ox-eye, hooked
crowfoot, silverweed,

creeping buttercup, sickle
leaf golden aster, thin

leaved sunflower, chrome yellow,
urobilin bright. They, too, wait for your skin,

for the whites of your eyes
to burst into color.

Michele Harris received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts Boston, where her thesis, Blackdamp, was awarded the David A. Kennedy Prize for exceptional work in the field of poetry. Her work has appeared in Anderbo, The Rectangle, Escarp, The Prose-Poem Project, The Susquehanna Review, and is forthcoming in Eclectica. Currently, she teaches literature for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and serves as Poetry Editor for take'til, an online journal exploring sense.

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