November 9, 2011

"The Measured Breathing" by Michael Hettich

The Measured Breathing

And so I understand, at least for a moment,
how something and nothing can sometimes be reversed,
as I understand nothing: The black in a crow’s wing
works like my own deepest sleep when I wake
beyond mere self, that black like the waves
lifting their shoulders in a sudden swell of memory
or just a sudden swell. If everything we needed
were real, those delicate yellow-bellied birds
might fly through this thicket without brushing anything
and I might come home to a house full of absence
and meet all the people I’ve loved, sitting there
in the bodies they had then, but stuffed now with straw,
propped up and grinning. As my body too
is stuffed with dry grass, which pokes through my clothes.
I was hungry and you fed me—just enough to survive
until I was only what I am now, disappeared
into the music behind all this sound,
as the trees are connected to the trees of their past
through roots and branches and leaves—without thinking
anything we’d ever recognize as thinking,
anything we’d recognize: a place beyond this air.

About Michael Hettich

Michael Hettich’s most recent book of poetry, The Animals Beyond Us, was published in October 2011 by New Rivers Press. Other books include Like Happiness (2010), Flock And Shadow: New and Selected Poems (2005) and Swimmer Dreams (2004). The Measured Breathing, his forthcoming chapbook, won the 2011 Swan Scythe Press Chapbook Contest. His work has appeared in such journals as Orion, Prairie Schooner, Witness, The Bloomsbury Review, Poetry East, and Alaska Quarterly Review. He teaches at Miami Dade College.

For a review of Michael's most recent collection, The Animals Beyond Us, please follow this link:

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