Michele Battiste

When the Light Falters

The moon is out
of practice. A

small broken stone.
The closed window.

The serrated edge of the neighboring
roof confuses me. Blocking sky as if we are sewn

inside the seam itself.

The closed window creaks there
is no wind and the serrated
edge of the roof. I am not

young enough
to pretend

the circumstances are better. The night

is clammy. We breathe
the same air and suffer

from it. I crave
saltwater as if

that is all that is denied to me.

Nothing swells or pulls
toward the moon. A

small broken stone. What moon
cannot illuminate

a perilous edge either
at my feet or looming? Your

moon. Your blind-spotted, petulant,
hand-wringing moon.


About all the sex going on in my poems

Or in other
words, dismemberment:

all these hips and throats and
clawing, toenails poorly painted

a gunshot shade of red.

In other words, shame:
the hidden blister, fever

for a wrist pinned to white

tile. If I were you, I’d keep
my lips pressed

tightly together. If I were
you, I’d figure out my limits

pretty damn quick.



Michele Battiste is the author of two poetry collections, Ink for an Odd Cartography (2009) and the forthcoming Uprising (2013), both from Black Lawrence Press. She has also written four chapbooks, the most recent of which is Lineage (Binge Press, 2012). Her poetry has recently appeared in The Awl, Anti-, and SpringGun among other journals. She lives in Boulder, CO where she’s procrastinating on a Ph.D. and raising money for school food reform.

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