Michele Leavitt, a poet and essayist, is also a high school dropout, hepatitis C survivor, adoptee, and former trial attorney. Her essays appear in venues including The Rumpus, Guernica, Catapult, and The Sycamore Review. Recent poems can be found in Poet Lore, North American Review, Stirring, and Baltimore Review.
Draft for the End of an Age
Bored with pornography
and other self-evidences,
like In sea-ice occurrences, duality is distinguishable
only by presence or absence of perennial ice,
complexity, the fractal coastline intricacies
that play a vital function
in regime shifts.
We already knew
sediment composition of raised gravel beaches shows a high degree of uniformity.
Although the dominant
clast shape is oblate,
still project seaward, and this suggests
some kind of threshold crossing
beyond a groom carrying a bride
over a doorstep.
Stop writing about us. Listen – do
you hear the grating roar of pebbles
which the waves draw back and fling,
begin, and cease, and then again begin? That’s us,
in multitudes, the ebb
the ebb and flow of human.
Small, alike, we roar
above the hiss
of powers we ignore,
their last few breaths of hierarchy.
From the nineteenth floor, you glimpse
the peregrine falcon flap its wings and soar
the way its cousins launch from dead trees in meadows,
except this is the city and nothing’s dead here long. Pansies
perished in the hard freeze and were uprooted overnight, plucked
from tended beds and sent to the garbage, hauled far away. No vultures
here, no flies, but you’re old. You fear for your kind, as if they might be spirited away, or sent to an underground garage, where concrete pillars take out your mirrors, rip off your doors.
the dead have had enough
—at the Alexandria National Cemetery, 2017
there’s always a sign
at the entrance
to govt property
this one protects
the rows of buried
men and women
and their uniform
headstones which are
white and will
and hail until
they won’t NO
says the sign
the eye follows
the rows of white
tablets sunk in green
grass and irony the eye
follows until the rows
converge to seamless
white the distant green
we’ve always yearned
toward overtaken by bone