FALL 2010

Michelle Bitting


The desert beckons as much
as leaving equals a mini gallows,
motel room among coyotes
and Saguaro cactus means
divorce an acre of heart. I miss
my children as much as this
rush to party with flaming sheep
in my soul’s black pasture.
What could happen, after all?
My son tanks on his meds,
apocalypse of fits, the house
digressing to a smoky knoll
of burnt pillows, broken snow globes.
Either way, my mind’s a zoo,
a cross-wire conundrum
of riposte, eschew. Damned if you do
and if you don’t, strung from coils
on a high desert tram. Stay,
stay, rusted to your chair,
practical mama, like the pope,
smiling, icing-white in his cupcake
robe, vapid cherry of bobbing,
sanctimonious head. In your
grid-locked kitchen, the rented
Eden-getaway gone now
that imagined you sprawled
on floral spreads, eared books
and pens scattered, a rat trail
of scribbled paper spilling
from bed onto shag, shade
of avocado. This dream’s been
seized again, a wax tableau
in the museum of desire.
Stay, says the voice,
your safe spot by the phone,
warm loom of telemarketers
to cheer you, their shallow,
mechanical pitch, and
that old girl the oven
but a spoon’s length away,
sprung mouth open, crying,
See, this way no one gets hurt.

Michelle Bitting has work published or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Narrative, River Styx, Crab Orchard Review, Passages North, Poemeleon,  Rattle, Linebreak, and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. Thomas Lux chose her full-length manuscript, Good Friday Kiss, as the winner of the DeNovo First Book Award and C & R Press published it in 2008. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University, Oregon. Michelle teaches with California Poets in the Schools and at the UCLA Extension Writer’s Program.






Poetrybay seeks fine poetry, reviews, commentary and essays without restriction in form or content, and reserves first electronic copyright to all work published. All rights to published work revert to the author following publication. All Email submissions should be in body of email text.

To submit poems write to:

PO Box 114 
Northport NY 11768
or email us at 

send comments to info@poetrybay.com

first electronic copyright 2004 poetrybay. 
all rights revert to authors

website comments to dpb@islandguide.com