Tuesday Aug 22

MichelleBonczek Michelle Bonczek is a photographer and writer in Kalamazoo, MI, where she is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at Western Michigan University. She completed an MFA at Eastern Washington University and an MA in Literature at SUNY Brockport. Her poem “Four Corners” is the 2009 recipient of the Jane Kenyon Award in Poetry through Water~Stone Review.  Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her poems have appeared in journals such as Crazyhorse, Cream City Review, Green Mountains Review, Natural Bridge, Orion, The Progressive, and Weber Studies.
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Separation in the Form of Fall
 
 
Today the dead drop from trees
like husks of heavy chestnuts.
 
Every time one falls, it frees another
to split open. I am not afraid
 
to be alone. I hear rustling
in the leaves, down they fall
 
through the light that leads out
of their bodies. They bounce and I hear
 
footsteps on my wooden stairs.
Once, I caught a walnut’s loosening
 
and descent, watched it trickle and roll
through the leaves until it stopped
 
at my foot. I should’ve told you then,
should’ve cracked the husk open, placed it
 
on my tongue: husks are made for secrets.
I should’ve told you then.
 
We are always falling and splitting,
longing to free ourselves from those
 
we can no longer hold.
 
 
 
Return
 
 
Fingertips that haven’t touched
strings all summer, the hands
 
instead busy making unfamiliar
cheekbones familiar, loosening
 
braids to take home
the scent of linden. Like
 
a hummingbird’s voice
hovering a lobe. Like tongue.
 
Like skin. His stroke
so holy it floats, this lingering
 
unafraid in the way
he hands everything back
 
to the world, so slowly as if
to erase the fact of taking
 
that is the world, the exchange
like a child’s sleeping body
 
lifted from a car’s backseat,
the small fist opened, draped
 
over a father’s arm, the comforter
pulled back on the small bed, the body
 
slipped in like the long ride home
still purring under the tires.
 
 
 
Wooded Road, Lake Superior
 
 
When we pass an opening, a keyhole
through which waves break and scatter
pebbles like rock candy slammed into rock,
 
he stops the car. Even I hear it calling.
It is a beautiful evening, the sun,
the horizon. Give me the keys,
 
I say, in case something happens, in case
his body, too supple for these waves,
all flesh and bone, a nymph of a body
 
scarred by old rebellion and blades, is swallowed
by these forces that command him to swim.
I know I cannot compete with nature.
 
He heeds the water, as we all will one day,
I say to myself, strolling the beach, praying—yes,
with him I have returned to prayer—give me
 
strength to leave him be. These waves, tortured
by their yearning to unhinge,
rap the bottom of cold, shipwrecked depths.
 
I’ve plunged and carried an ache for days.
He tosses his clothes. First feet and already
his body is thrown back. I hide calm
 
behind my camera, take a few pictures of him
inching into the lake, for the caretakers,
I think, should they need come—which will be me
 
on this stretch of land too far north for tourists
or towns. But stones and water hear as well as call.
They cut deep into his right foot. He will notice
 
the blood only when he changes
into his clothes and walks back, on second thought,
the wet sand sucking sunsets from his heel.