You will know something about a woman that if I tell you her name is Feather, but that her birth-name is Bird, and that her street name has no bearing on her features, but sometimes she’s a bitch, so I treat her like the one she names herself, and that is what she prefers.
In you there were born a moon from each planet, she said. Of our solar system she said, you have many houses. On earth as it is in heaven, she said. And of those houses, the entrances are hidden. But once inside horizontal and diagonal lines, a spirit leads the eye; a good pencil in the Master’s hand.
She says I’m a dog she says, she is such and such in the kitchen she says, her mother baked bread in an old oven—her mother was harsh with language and spat: not without spitting, she’d say, she says. Through the alphabet with her pelvis she goes; spitting is gross, she says.
And you will know something about fidelity, something unnamable and common law, about all of the names naming it, it and all of it and all but no one else. Something said about her mother because you see her; you see them: they are without their fathers.
And not that since their fathers are not with them, therefore they are no longer with us, but that of all the dust and gases and atom splitters and scattering, sometimes with a scope she goes, but never without water she goes, sometimes with the door open.
She went a few times under a tree. But you will not know if or what kind or how many times. Sometimes without meat she goes, sometimes without employment she goes, sometimes without insurance she goes, but never without, never without a meal it seems.
But that she gave her hand and said at church, she caught the Holy Ghost—she spoke in tongues and sang in the choir—she sat back straight in a high-back chair. She said she liked the feel of a high-back chair that it made her feel listened to; she said she liked the function of open space, but then the circles within squares, and life-sized urns, and ribbon of windows, really did it.
Myron Michael is a publisher, recording artist, and WritersCorps, San Francisco, teaching-artist alum. His poetry is anthologized in Cave Canem XII and Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds. Online publications include Step Away Magazine, Harvard Review, and Rivet. In collaboration with Microclimate Collective, he presented work at X Libris, and co-created “Vertical Horizon” as a participant in Broadside Attractions/Vanquished Terrains. He is the author of a chapbook, Scatter Plot, and a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee.
Image: “Power and Light à la Свема” by ©Chuck Miller