Michelle Bitting

Autumn Deluge

The amber tree
of coral leaves
its contagion spreading
Rough sidewalks
and running past
I snap a picture
with my portable eye
the light-bearing
cell I wobble without
Thinking Rothko
seeing everything’s
a cross a crucifixion of sorts
lines and colors
singing out
against wet grass
Waking up this way
my mind wants to burst
its dark-dreaming suit
the thin cartoon
and algae spool
A river can rise
out of nowhere
sweep everything off
And you won’t rule
water only invent
new ways of swimming
your raft
a ragged ledge
made of brooms
a certain face
the familiar blunt mustache
resurfacing tries
to insert itself
in tangled clumps
a daisy chain
of shade tossed
to the stifled pond where
the latest monster
the flip dictator
who faked it
to get elected
waves from the edge
pretending to be kind
pretending he’s here
to save you



As Through Stony Ground the Green Shoots Break

and the spirit grinds its glass
to darker powders
the sun
a lazy susan spinning light
behind trick clouds
yellow eye
bloated to red
in the year of our Unmaker
like a fish
in scarlet rapture
as if rays had scorched him
from inside
a magnifying glass
held to the soul’s distorted prism
We begot this
ochreous stain
never sleeping
blood processes bearing
down for centuries
No worse than self-entombment
behind veneers
of pure
and polished deadwood
marble chrome disguises
I’d say
iron and decay
at least denote
vim and vite
a breath of life despoiling
celebrating water’s natural masterpiece
I like to think of it
licking it
this way
the virtue of iron
being so fond
of getting itself rusted
crying over matter
shape and shadow
shifting as
the hours wear on
and imagination
disturbs us inside
our scrutiny of nothing
but this stain
this stain
we raise beyond the unmaking
color of blood
the river runs on
our salvation
a Loving cup
full of so many
hands now


Michelle Bitting’s third collection is The Couple Who Fell to Earth named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2016. She has published poems and prose in The American Poetry Review, Narrative, Prairie Schooner, The New York Times, Vinyl Poetry, Plume, Diode, the Paris-American, Green Mountains Review, Harvard Review, AJP, Thrush, Fjords, Raleigh Review and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes. www.michellebitting.com