Michalle Gould’s poems have been published in Slate, New England Review, Poetry, The Texas Observer, and other journals. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she teaches and tutors writing and is working on a novel set in England in the 1930’s.
Poem With Multiple Endings
The opening is narrow, but you squeeze through it.
Soon, you are knee-deep in rhetoric.
Your grandmother dies. There is a beautiful sunset.
You think a boy is going to kiss you,
but he pulls your hair instead. There will be sex in it,
but not yet! Your brother does not die,
so you find religion. You have made
a somewhat careless bargain with God.
You learn the value of a good revision,
how it allows you to cross your fingers in retrospect.
There is sex in it. Was it according to Tolstoy
that all good novels end with a wedding or a funeral?
Sex often leads to marriage, not always directly,
but it puts you in the same time zone.
Sometimes, it leads to death, but not here.
Everything goes faster and faster.
Eventually, there is marriage, and children,
in some kind of order. You feel guiltier
and guiltier about that broken bargain with God.
Was it Chekhov who said that a gun
in the first act must go off by the third,
that nothing exists in a work of art without reason?
You are more and more convinced
that this poem need not have an ending.
The closing will be narrow,
but you hope to lift yourself out of it.
On the Potential Appearance of Resurrection
It will come like the day to some child
who doesn’t understand time, who – arising
in the middle of the night – thinks a thief
stole the sun, sees the morning’s wild
entrance as a miracle beyond imagining,
the return of something so lost he didn’t even dare
pray for its homecoming – like that time
when you find yourself both loving
and loved simultaneously – that rare,