Michelle Detorie lives in Santa Barbara, CA, where she edits Hex Presse and works at Santa Barbara City College. Recent works include the chapbooks Fur Birds (Insert Press, 2012), Ode to Industry (Dusie/Playful Rectangle, 2009), How Hate Got Hand (eohippus labs, 2009), Bellum Letters (Dusie 2008), and A Coincidence of Wants (Dos Press, 2007). In 2007, Michelle was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, and in 2010 she won a direct-to-artist grant from the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative for her public art project, The Poetry Booth. These poems are from the full-length collection Fur Birds, which is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press in March 2015.
from Fur Birds
Mesh-water in the air, the light
webs unmarshed. Waiting for June
to unlock. Creature-clocks.
The acid lake winks
under ash, under motorized wings:
eye snaps capture
trees like glass, like little singed machines
who haven't any hearts.
I grow into a dog. My paws are
soft numbers that print upon
the earth. The figures grow
into letters – text tracks
that spell a movement
from one shadow-self
into the next. A sort
of even-ing crescendo.
A sense is in the numbers –
a type of map: mud-body
of blood. and claws. and ash.
the animal women
come to life
in tiny houses, a town
roots. The bog breathes
home into the bones
the grasses touch
the air, the houses
their red jelly hearts
settled in logs
of moss and rot
beat through the clover
We just saw millionaires in the gravel. They were still wearing watches.
The last gleaming thing along the flesh. Their hands silver
and dirty, turning to forks, clutches.
The mirage women bring us a pile of colorful presents, wrapped and
ribboned and spilling out of hand wagon with three red wheels. We
spend the afternoon unwrapping them, making the boxes into new
houses, filling them with dirt, hoping that birds or worms or foxes
would come to find them, us.
There are four moons and an ocean full of lead.
I thought of taking off my clothes and sleeping with
the wolf. I wondered, would it be warmer? I struggled
to see how the wolf and I could be different.
For now, my theory is that the trees have decided to
grow down, underground, spreading toward the warm
sparkle-grit of plasma they say we’re floating in.
Fever-cubs, vixen sisters. Sticks have become their
own kind of treasure. We go out gathering.