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Letter Sewn into the Hem of a Dress Made of Smoke

Blood sloshing

in my skull’s chipped saucer,

the stars trolling overhead,

and this dirt road

that twists back

to its own prehistory.

When I say you have the beauty

of a dirt road

I mean you have thin shoulders

that twist in me

like the fault lines

in a minor planet’s moon

I mean you smell of dust,

burnt soap stone, beetle shells,

garden hoses limp in the sun

I mean that I can feel you

tilt your head back

and tell some fleck of dust

hanging between us

that you make noises

only the dingo can hear.

I’ve lived all these years

with my mouth

pressed to the altar

of low green rivers

and slabs of shale

and I’m telling you now

that I can feel the night

scrawling the shape

of your voice onto the cold

wet earth of me

and when I say a doe

is about to jump

the low spot in the fence

in December in the rain

in this moment

and no other I mean

your animal stillness

resting next to mine.

from Poetry Northwest 11.2 Winter & Spring 2017More by Michael McGriff from the library

Copyright © Michael McGriff
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

Published in Michael McGriff Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.