Poetry - Issue 04 | April 2009

Two Poems by Michael Bazzett

The Side of the Road

I was sitting on a stone wall beneath a gently warming sun.
It was still early enough that the rock felt cool and small
birds were flitting in and out of mesquite shadow –I wondered
what kind of bird they were.  While this was occurring
I also happened to be imprisoned within a cage of my own desires.

I was waiting for a possible bus.  I wasn’t certain of its arrival,
but the stone wall and the small birds seemed enough for now. 
So I paid heed to the shrinking shadows and heard the profound
silence of the road stretching out in either direction,
wondering only occasionally if a bus did happen to happen
this way whether there would be room for me as well as my cage. 

It’s unwieldy and constructed in a somewhat haphazard fashion.
The bamboo joints are tied with hairy twine instead of rattan,
the pattern of the bars is uneven, but the water bottle
has an effective rubber seal and the feed tray is wired in
so securely that if I inadvertently back into it the pellets don’t
spill into the shredded paper or the cedar shavings that line my bed.

What I’m telling you – the road, the sun, the birds – all happened
under a sky that was blue enough that I can’t possibly describe it here
but there is one thing I will nonetheless try to relate, and it is unnerving:
when I stood and started walking down the empty road in one
of the two possible directions, I caught a peripheral flickering and looked
down at my shadow: it was nothing but the lean profile of a man –
arms swinging loose at his sides –  there was no outline of a cage at all.

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About the author

Michael Bazzett’s favorite mode of transportation is reading a book in his hammock. He has new work forthcoming in Cream City Review, Literary Imagination, Massachusetts Review, Pleiades, and Prairie Schooner. Read his chapbook, The Imaginary City.

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