Two Poems by Michael Hettich

Two Poems by Michael Hettich

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Before we start shooting salt into the sky
to cool the planet and cloud our days,

perhaps we should simply
sit down in the shade
with stories, of moons that break open into flowers,
of foxes that sleep at the foot of our beds
to keep our feet wild. And before we start dreaming

floating cities adrift on a rising
ocean, perhaps we should undress ourselves
of who we’ve become, slip out of the habits
we’ve devised to feign our innocence, and swim
out into the deeper water

until whatever’s still phosphorescent
within us glows like small constellations
beneath which the huge, warm-blooded swimmers,
with minds and memories, and songs that might teach us
new ways to hear, are moving through the darkness. 




Imagine the feel of their huge backs rubbing
against our pale feet, as they move on through the night.



Routine Weather

When I reach home, I take off my sweats, release
my undirected weather, empty the trash cans
and make the many beds that are tumbled and tossed
in the bedrooms inside me; then I drain the black oil
and muzzle the guard dogs, who take themselves out
for a walk while I cook up my socks and old shoes,
humming an anthem I played for my friends
in the dorm room—about freedom and dusty back roads
to nowhere but some hobo’s secondhand life
while I made up a career. It was there, I realize,
that I lost the leather jacket that seemed to make me interesting,
those slick boots whose heels won me arguments, that hat
that made my long hair flow like potency itself,
while I moaned the blues like a field hand and headed
reluctantly off to my day-job delivering
flowers to secretaries screwed by their bosses
and housewives screwed by the suburbs. So I sit here
naked as a chicken leg steaming on a dinner plate,
a man sliding free of his sleeping bag naked
as an earthworm, who stands now and walks through the trees
looking for a path to the picnic and wondering
whether that whispering in the distance is a waterfall
or just another ravenous machine.




Michael HettichMichael Hettich’s most recent book of poetry, Bluer and More Vast, was published in the summer of 2018 by Hysterical Books. A new book, To Start an Orchard, which includes the poems published here, is forthcoming from Press 53. He has published poems and essays in many journals and anthologies. After thirty years living in Miami, he has recently relocated to Black Mountain, North Carolina.
Read poetry by Michael Hettich previously appearing in Letter to America, two poems, and one poem.

Header photo by jamesteohart, courtesy Shutterstock. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.