bare hands

Beyond the window the low hum of the cars
holds the birdsong in its dogged embrace.
Were you to parallel I would, yes, I would sing
too. We have walked on from the season of wool
and fire but how else will I make the necessary quiet?

Here I take your words off one by one—I do not let
them litter, I tuck them in boxes—but this just makes
me into the first tree to drop her leaves, see me
brittle now, my arms up to the sky. Besides, we have not yet
reached the season for so much raw and skin.

And so how then can I parallel, how will I manage
these two straight lines? This will be such bare-handed
scribbling. This will blister, this will not hold me.

bare hands by Michelle Bailat-Jones

Photo used under CC.

About Author


Michelle Bailat-Jones is the author of two novels, UNFURLED, (forthcoming Oct 2018, Ig Publishing) and FOG ISLAND MOUNTAINS, which won the 2013 Christopher Doheny Award from the Center for Fiction. Her translations, fiction, poetry, and criticism have appeared in various journals including the Kenyon Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Necessary Fiction, Ascent, the Atticus Review, PANK, Cerise Press, The Quarterly Conversation and the Women's Review of Books. Michelle was born in Japan, grew up in the Pacific NW and currently lives in Switzerland.

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