Michele Battiste

Man Up

It was wrong – after dark and the coyotes and all that. We can’t go
on if we can’t be responsible.

And all that is
is facing the inevitability of death and at least building
traps that work, for God’s sake, if we can’t be

It’s like we’re children. Or cowards.

It’s not like the coyotes own the moon, or something.
It’s not like they are the only creatures that experience time as cyclical.
It’s not like we are not all compost.

We could conduct a controlled burn.
That would be something, at least.
That would be a choice.


I was banging my head this morning over the radio
silence. Not that I need constant white noise, but left
alone I sometimes confuse my son for a bear cub,
my toes for a game of bocci ball gone terribly wrong.
A heavily-medicated girlfriend once blamed all my anxieties
on an over-active imagination and I wonder if derangement
is just the synapses left to their own devices. It’s easy enough
to become exhausted, but it takes a lot of work to stay that way
and I have things to do. Send word. If only to rescue the silence
from such terrible abuse.

Her Medical Archive:

slick hand, slick hands
a souvenir

If only it could all be
European, we could take
pictures and no one would mind

A child would think it a red bottle
It doesn’t show the number of strokes

I touch my throat to feel for a pulse certain
that my lips are white

It shouldn’t seem so

separated tissue, glass slide
(the assistant lurking like rust)

If it were more aquatic, she could drift.

If only we weren’t expecting all data
to be triangulated.

Swampy. that’s the word
I’m looking for

Glutinous, better

A child would think berries before
we turned his head away and smeared
his palms with honey
up to his wrists