Poetry Spoken Here

You have entered the poetry zone – drop all high school English class trepidations behind you. Be prepared to experience words as they were meant be met – face to face, body to body. Grant yourself permission to swim in the surf of sentences, to wade in the depth of phrases. Don’t worry about getting wet; the undertow won’t hurt you. Even the sharks are safe; they bite, but only to wake you up – there are no actual scars, just a jostling of your world view. Come on in – the water’s fine.

Farewell Again, Adrienne

Adrienne Rich died again this month.
Not content to leave the world once
bereft, grieving, all those poets in black,
in April she somehow staged a second exit
so we could mourn again.

Yes, I now know it was merely
a misquoted entry floating through
cyberspace, one of those anniversary
notes somehow translated into
a repeat funeral.

Fitting, though, that this literary lion,
who dared us to dive into the wrecks
of ourselves, and pushed open doors
three times her size with
crippled hands

would challenge death
to one more round.



© Michelle Wing

First published in The Sonoma County Literary Update,
ed. by Jo-Anne Rosen & Terry Ehret, May 2015

First Gardens

based on a passage from Mary Oliver’s “Owls,” Blue Pastures


The great snakes, sitting in dusky yards, peaceful.
I have found them — take caution at twilight.

I know this:

When the perfect is terrible,
the glory more terrible still.

I hear it resounding its song like stones
at the edge of the world.



© Michelle Wing

First published in Digging Our Poetic Roots: Poems from Sonoma County,
ed. by Katherine Hastings, WordTemple Press, 2015


That night standing under stars
when I traced my first constellation,
I wish someone had said, “That’s Diana,
goddess of the hunt. See her bow, stretched taut?

The quiver of arrows? And those three stars,
look close – the pattern of her belt. Nearby,
her faithful dogs.” But no, it was Orion.
Another god to fill the sky.

The children’s books long since abandoned –
the Velveteen Rabbit, Pinocchio, searching
for a place in the world. Their message
had been clear: freedom lies in becoming

a real boy. Is it any wonder I kept a bag
packed with jeans and sweatshirts,
planned to bind my small breasts,
had chosen a new name?

with thanks to Tania


© Michelle Wing

First published in Body on the Wall, Michelle Wing
Saddle Road Press, Hilo, Hawai’i, 2014