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Michelle Bitting

Yet, the Loveliness

Once, Dorianne told me
of the moment her mother finally
admitted, apologized even,
for the spotty passage
of her childhood years, how often
they proved a woods rife with wolves
and teeth and trickery enough
to make a girl want to gaze into
the maw of an open oven
and mistake that boundless dark
for a candle.  The loveliness I wanted
would have cost my mother
nothing—a thimble of breath, a wisp
of floss the sparrow plucks
from the gutter and threads
into her egg chamber behind
my front porch lamp—or,
the last thumb of indigo milk
tugged from breast before
my mother crunched those lovelies
beyond the borders of her garments,
their nickel hooks and eyes,

her secret queendom—
a language of the body
she was not taught to teach
or promote. Oh fragile basket
we swing through thickets
of time, combing the thorns
for brighter berries
we can crush against our chests
like medals or gauze,
staunching the grief, our yearn
for honesty—for a true line
on the tongue—
how sweet the taste of even one.

Michelle Bitting.jpg


Michelle Bitting is the author of five poetry collections, Good Friday Kiss, winner of the inaugural De Novo First Book Award; Notes to the Beloved, which won the Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award; The Couple Who Fell to Earth; Broken Kingdom, winner of the 2018 Catamaran Poetry Prize; and Nightmares & Miracles (Two Sylvias Press, 2022), winner of the Wilder Prize. Bitting is a lecturer in poetry and creative writing at Loyola Marymount University and in film studies at University of Arizona Global.

Bear Review


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