Michael Robins

If One Has a Mind That Way

The sun each morning burns its little weight. Some flower paints the tongue or returns the name of the one you loved. The opposite of a promise fills the air, stilly if not for the unpracticed sparrows, the faraway rumble of a train, the secret teeth that stutter before they turn the cylinder & bolt the lock. You might describe the day as quiet when the compact loader, enough to crush a man, inches backwards off the ramp. So the forecast breaks its pact with the butterfly net. The endless swimming ends. Long story short, after a decade of landlocked living & without thinking of pastures or yearning, of grievance or injury, the good stone skips toward infinity. The surface gives & you lean closer, twist down through the darkness you’ve known all this time.



Letters from Portland

It’s the clouds beyond the squirrels & traffic lights that demand our attention, makeshift memorials for the subsequent bursts & flares between the sun & the blank face of the watch on the nightstand. Such long, inconsolable silences. Meeting for drinks, twenty-five years on, she says I haven’t changed a bit. I remember the pie she baked, that to this day puts each & every other pie to shame. Pleasure, sure, crumbs scattered beneath the bench & the sirens replaced now by what we might call a breeze. Likewise, when my father sorts through a box there’s no telling when he’ll find his feet again. Details in no particular order & still these makeshift shadows we stretch across the floor.



Michael Robins is author of five collections of poetry, including People You May Know (2020) and The Bright Invisible (2022), both from Saturnalia Books. More at https://ifyoulivedhere.substack.com