Wednesday, August 18, 2021



from This Melody


He told us his parents

            were angels who lived

                        in the branches outside

            his bedroom.

They whispered and tapped

            at his window when he slept,

                        so he climbed out and sat

            in that tree for a while

with his parents, and looked at the moon.


If I built a secret house

                                    and filled it with fireflies

                and filled it with an evening

                                                         teeming with bats

                            then told you, pretentiously,

                                                     this is how I love you:

                Imagine a bat's face

                            as it zigzags through the darkness,

                its wonderful, vein-stippled,

leathery wings.


Divorced and alone,

              she works the night shift

                            and when she gets home

                        at dawn from her one-room

                                        apartment and rides

                         through the empty city streets

no hands.


And when was the first time

                        you realized you were lost

                you ask as we drive home

                          later, and when I found you,

                did your bones become sharper

in your body, did your teeth

                 gleam any brighter, and did your secret bodies,

                 the bodies that lined up behind you in the past,

                  did they shift underground

for a moment?


Angel of knowing we've seen that face before.

                Angel of highway, angel of trains,

angel of the funky breeze, angel of the slapped face,

                angel of the out-of-tune, angel of the outer space.

Angel of pesticides, angel of the endless-seeming,

                 angel of the families we've walked away from, angel

of everything we've ever said, angel of our silence.


He buys a hotel and empties all the rooms,

            removes all the windows and doors,

and walks around pretending he could be a different person

                        in each room he enters

                until he forgets himself,

for a little while. You think this can't happen?

Wind and rain ruin the floors, wild

                 animals make nests, and eventually a stranger

remembers who he was once. With that, he disappears.


Michael Hettich

The Mica Mine

St. Andrews Press