michelle detorie


 You, apiary, brimming   
   with the fuzz-buzz
   of yellow, the skeins
     of swelter, womb
   of churn and thrum.

Gossip in caverns shaped by appetite

secret strings
wound in golden
coils, cymbals
shined and tipping
            like glass

toward windows, machines.

                               Unlocked boxes
                          all shuttered with false
                          calm and them bloomed –
                           winter skins written over
                               with summer glyphs,
                                 carapace textics.

Hived coven beyond the bear.

                                    Red wound
                                 of the eye within
                                 the amber ovens
                                loosened for noise
                                  sappy hollows
                                    bared without

  vowels neither
      well  nor

                                                                                       but one thousand wheels, spinning.



Thin as a match, the thing you wished for
perched in a tree and tuning. It was a wing

sliding silver-finned between the lining
of the world you imagined turned in, yourself

at the center glinting as the belly of a fish
slit open, eye of the sea split and spilled

like a bowl of black glitter, sand in the glass
still singing. The smooth heat you've exerted

could hardly scratch all her surfaces -- the clean
mirror you've licked. Invented by her, you're made

pink and windy. That's you breathing
in the corner, centerfold of insolence, unzipping

your double, the tree springing silver-leafed
from your lips, shivering with answer.


I mourned

    the death of my half-
sister long before
        she was born. This

began when I discovered

    a rabbit’s frail bones
in a bed of pine straw.
    I began to bury stones

beneath the fringed gaze

    of the perennials —
gladiolas and asters.
    Her breathing

I discerned

    in a bowl of milk.
I chose clothes
    that would be hers

when I outgrew them.

    For months
I drew her inside a belly —
    I drew her —

an outline— a body

            beneath fallen petals.


I pull leaves
from his hair as we
approach a creek's edge.

He is wearing
white. He is so thin
you could shine
a flashlight
through him.

My impulse is to rinse
him in the water,  to lift
him out like a clean
shirt and stretch him
over a bright rock.

Like milk, light curls
through the water's folds.
He wants to know
how it feels to be

We nudge each
other in the breeze.
Feathery seeds, loosened
from the poplar,
drift out.


Dirty dove, I loved you even
when you ate the heart
of a deer — sliver of dark
meat quivering on your tongue-tip, heart-
ache wrought from the tip
of your knife. The most tender flesh.
That which you taste
only just after it dies. Barely dead
it bled to death still beating
in your hands. Beheld:
the doe and her fawn, the black
hooves knocking the blue glass
of the ice, the thicket
lined with the fur
of a hare, the circle of chalk
where she stood just before
she fell. Arrowhead — heart-shaped
bird — feathers flared
at your tail — that which guides
you. One heart always seeking
a place to dive — always seeking
another with its same beat.
For a moment we moved
in the same breast —
tongue-tooth to tongue-heart —
heart mouth to mouth
with all our jagged red teeth.

«±  ±»

michelle detorie lives in Goleta, California where she edits Womb and works with rescued seabirds. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Foursquare, Chelsea, Typo, and The Tiny. She is a 2007 NEA Literature Fellow. More




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