Fall/Winter 2014

Michael Hettich


I have been smaller than the days we forget, smaller than the dreams we remember just a moment, smaller than the hole from the poke of a needle that will heal you, smaller than the dust circulating in your blood.
So then the extinct birds began to fly around our heads and the halo of past time shone around us all. So then the extinct species of people and animals started calling from the deeper inside us inside us, as everything mimicked our mother and our mother sat naked by the shore, on a seaweed-covered boulder. She let the waves dash her and swirl around her body, which looked fleshy and pale against the hairy rocks.
Our mother sang then like a seal or a sea lion, but she was still the woman who’d nursed us and kissed us goodnight, the woman who’d given us baths. We walked that beach holding hands and looking out for the dolphins we imagined might be swimming there; we listened for the sea birds and swoosh of the waves reaching toward us and pulling away.
And so we collected driftwood to build our secret house from, to live inside the dark bones of someone else’s memory. By then we were living like the seaweed that draped our mother’s pale shoulders as she sang for the moon to clang its huge gong that would deafen us forever, for the eels and the minnows to stand up and walk to the window like my silence does, and look out at the night.

Michael Hettich's poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies. His most recent books are Like Happiness (Anhinga, 2010) and The Animals Beyond Us (New Rivers, 2011). A new book, Systems of Vanishing, is forthcoming from University of Tampa Press in April, 2014.



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