About the Feature

I could have sworn this was a cave
with thin gray branches at the opening,
a perfect ellipse. No one’s home but home.
No whistle over the opening. A man empties
his lungs entirely, so he can sing, so we can sing.
He looks down at the ground. I look at the cave
and then up at a hawk who left his streetlight
to be here for this occasion of our murmuring
in the presence of animals.

I wish things were different, that the doorway
had no door, crème paint flaking from fifty years
of painting and a smell like new paint, soft from heat,
afternoon sun, flakes a golden white color, and behind me
a breeze. I know there were two of us here, and I don’t know
where the other is. I can’t see the room. Maybe it’s not a room
anymore. Maybe it’s someone’s idea: staircase in the closet,
seven layers of wallpaper and all of them showing.

The cat who died is still mewling by the bathtub,
and I didn’t know her in life. Half a deer is in two tubs
in the refrigerator. One leg is shoving out of a tub,
like a peony, hoof in bloom.

Light brown, the trees closest to me have succumbed
to the cold, their leaves are around my feet,
some I can hear hitting the train in the wind
in little slaps, little slaps of water against
my cheeks. I am so high in the mountains
that the mountains are not mountains,
and sleep is in my chest, making its way
to my throat, the bearer of good news.
A shell’s spirit shares a sound.
The ocean in this case. So, not so empty.
Not an abandoned house. The bed is ready.
The fire is ready.

We have lived here; and we have lived here.



Image by Sean McCormick.

About the Author

Michelle Mitchell-Foust is the author of Circassian Girl and Imago Mundi (Elixir). An anthology she edited with Tony Barnstone, Dead and Undead Poems, was released from Everyman Press in 2014. Human and Inhuman Poems (Everyman) will follow in 2015.