PoetryIssue 08 | February 2010

Three Poems by Michael Bazzett

Old Man

The snow on the house is blue in the moonlight, the trees naked and black.  He steps slowly along the pitched peak of the roof, one foot straddling either sloping side, until his trembling hand grasps the chimney and the wire of his posture goes slack.

His coat comes off, exposing sagging flesh.  He has a slightly dented chest and roping white arms that circle back, his long fingers searching the hollow between his shoulder blades.  He probes the folded place where his wings are furled.

They are not metaphor – just strange, tired flesh drawn into the cold.  He unfolds them carefully, like a letter pulled from a rummage-sale couch.  His back quakes as they extend creakily, muttering as his knees do in the morning, and he soundlessly spreads them to dry in the warm smell of wood smoke rising.

A million capillaries trace the map of flight.  His overlarge heart diverts its dark flow to thicken the wings.  His chest x-ray stunned the radiologist when he battled bronchitis last year, an astonishment that served as catalyst for an unfortunate chain of events.

The wings tug like a kite, now.  They nose the air like a tethered pony.  The old man wraps a scarf around his neck, then crisscrosses another over his torso. 

When he drags himself into the impossibly clear night, heading south, it is still a surprise.  He does not fly easily.  Instead, he crawls upward, scrabbling and frog-kicking like a swimming boy.

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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.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok