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Sara Michas-Martin


halyards in the bay      steady the indoor voice      of the ocean     
the undertow mumbles its silhouette       an exhale        
elevated to a sigh       the full amplitude of motion     any object       
produces sound      when it vibrates in matter      
particles collide        with particles in front of them
which collide     with particles ahead     
until you hear water       hiss in the metal sink    
pipes clack elbows     the suck on the drain      
over trucks outside       wincing through gears     the person shouting
echo of high heels        pigeons warbling   
hammer     anvil     stirrup       
noise plays past the ear      marries us to time
its tricks with speed       and one-way argument      
sitting quiet        the reward of nothing      then letting
a song decide     which mood to sink   
what other faculties       live as vacant      as crammed     
as spotted as this?        musicians organize sound
for no evolutionary purpose       an audience claps      
hearing the rise      and fall    of pitch         
high notes swapped in    for higher notes      
a finger pressed firmly       to sound the matching key.


Cafe, Person Crying

The spirit unbundled like that

no place                                        
proper to land

eye to eye          out of reach
the meanwhile

the shared quality
of accents        

a need to level
continuously      a script

burn spots        standing quickly
after not standing

hard to judge      
for instance
corners on most people

from the margins         

some things 
born without aid
or antonym

it’s common in fading to ignore
a sigh let go

a short descent
radial sob

here   in this room together

innumerable the ways
we are not.


I wanted to know your country    I let you order
the terrible green egg    the fluid aged five weeks
in the heat    then passed ceremoniously
to slurp through the homemade aperture   
the aftertaste cast wide    sulfuric and murky   
all that expires in the deep end of the farm   
my most flexible cavity   stretched with bird  
bird cycling the vein    already
bird-powered wrist    in my fabric
a little bird soul   a shell

If You Think About It

The owl strains

to cough a pellet forward

as I wait at the table

gloved, with tweezers

to untangle a complete set of bones

to rebuild a swallowed vole.

You might say the body is awash

with industry. The mind bears down

to evolve, to weed through

the intake, whole sequences

made skinny, tapered to a glimpse.

A friend crossed out words she misspelled

with a ruler. I shoved her cat

more than once down the chute

but now, her name eludes me

because each night

I am a coast reconfigured

by a storm. Moving this fast

it’s impossible to follow anything

down to its unhammered root.

Back up from the filmstrip

to see the levers and blue canals

take on abstract qualities.

Say the edge is more

casually defined and you’ll feel

uplifted. The lesson stays

clinical, but the word artery

can be a red flower

I shape with my voice

or the name of a country I invent

just so I can leave it.