Odyssey

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Into the folds
of endless appetites
I’ve tucked
some yellow cheese, raw
barley & green honey, two kinds
of acorns & the fruit
of the cornel tree, dark
at its root
with a flower-like milk.
This black ship,
fluid in wind, baggy
& blown about
its mid-life seas. Love,
that faithful canine at the gate
dropping its ears
as time, the only master, passes.
Twenty five years, Argos.
I’ve come this far
to find you
and like all beloved things, knife
my eyes open wide
and watch you shatter, tissue clouds
& funeral cake
crashing down, sugar
& tears, my shrouds
for dead soil.
The place I put my mouth to next
and dig, ravenous.
The only way to forget.
To grow the past
a new head of joy. Lord knows
I’ve stuck mine so far into muck, I barely
breathe anymore.
The only way I’ve learned
to lick bitter waters
riding a violent seas home.
This map
made of gold, pinned
close to me and bloody
with monsters.
I call it my life.
"Odyssey" a poem by Michelle Bitting
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About Author

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Michelle Bitting has work published or forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Prairie SchoonerNarrativeRiver Styx, Crab Orchard Review, Passages North, Linebreak, diode, Rattle, Anti—the L.A. Weekly and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and as the Weekly Featured Poet on Verse Daily. In 2007, Thomas Lux chose her full-length manuscript, Good Friday Kiss, as the winner of the DeNovo First Book Award and C & R Press published it in 2008. Her book Notes to the Beloved, won the 2011 Sacramento Poetry Center Award and will be published in 2012. Recently, Michelle won the Beyond Baroque Foundation Award. Michelle has taught poetry in the U.C.L.A. Extension Writer’s Program, at Twin Towers prison, and is proud to be an active California Poet in the Schools. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University, Oregon. Visit her at www.michellebitting.com.

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