Michele Battiste

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Artwork by Gene McCormick


                       Five acres               bordered

                    by land no               longer

              your father’s.               The stone

               schoolhouse               that saw you

             married, my               husband

                 already                waving

                his fists               inside your

womb.  The gate               knotted

                 up with               overgrown

          broomgrass,                guarding

                 a path to               the creek.

        The neighbor’s               goats have

                  escaped               their pen, crossed

                  the dirt               road always

             giving up               dust, have

            their run               of the place.

        This is the               land you

        saved, the               asylum

of your planned               escape

  when the world               goes

            nuts.  Sue,               we have your

       license plates,               the red

              toothbrush               you bought my

                 son.  My               husband thought

           to put aside               the

   butcher’s block               I loved.

 You know what               I am

          avoiding:               ashes

       in the box               on top

    the bureau.               You are

     not home.               We are not

safe.  Nothing               ended

           like you               wanted.  What

            remains:               the trial.

                I mean               pilgrimage.

              Terror.  I               mean rage.


Michele Battiste is the author of the poetry collections Ink for an Odd Cartography (2009) and Uprising (2013), both from Black Lawrence Press. She is also the author of four chapbooks, the latest of which is Lineage (Binge Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Anti-, The Awl, Mid-American Review, and Women's Studies Quarterly. She lives in Boulder, CO where she raises fund for nonprofits undoing corporate evil.