from This Melody
                                                                          —Michael Hettich


And when was the first time
                        you realized you were lost

            you ask as we drive home
                                    later, and when I found you,

            did your bones become sharper
in your body, did your teeth

            gleam any brighter, and did your secret bodies,
                        the bodies that lined up behind you in the past,

            did they shift underground
for a moment?


Angel of knowing we’ve seen that face before.
            Angel of the highway, angel of trains,
angel of the funky breeze, angel of the slapped face,

            angel of the out-of-tune, angel of the outer space.

Angel of pesticides, angel of the endless-seeming,
            angel of the families we’ve walked away from, angel

of everything we’ve ever said, angel of our silence.


                        ... bodies frozen for thousands of years
            are discovered, some of whom still have faces
                        and tongues, some of whom still have their innards.

            One newly-thawed body had foot-long fingernails.

Another was covered in his own hair, which had pushed
            through the woof and weave of his tunic
and cottoned him like a cocoon.

                                    Some of the stories they told, some   
                                                of the food they ate, whatever songs they sang—

            She was wearing a necklace of finely-carved shells
a thousand miles from the sea. Do you see me
            at all?
my wife asked last night before bed,

                                                but I think I was already sleeping.


all the shells on the beach,
            all the ripped-up seaweed

                        teeming with tiny lives

                        the clothes you wear
            as though they hadn’t
been made by children,
            as though they made you shine

the breaths you will waste, all the heartbeats


                                    And the million creatures
                                                that haven’t yet been named
            and the languages that haven’t been discovered—

            they are also vanishing:

                                                a rain so soft and cool
                                    birds shimmer as they fly, beaks open for the taste
                        that teaches new songs, and new ways to land

            and the cool damp grass
where the inner life is clean

Michael Hettich

Michael Hettich's most recent book of poems is Bluer and More Vast: Prose Poems, which was published in summer 2018. His previous book, The Frozen Harbor, won the David Martinson/Meadowhawk Prize from Red Dragonfly Press as well as a 2017 Florida Book Award. He recently moved from Miami to Black Mountain, North Carolina.

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2019