Michelle Detorie

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
               erupting among

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.