All posts by robinlmichel

Like the Scent of Cherry Blossoms

Little brother, one month to the day, I lace 

up my running shoes and set out for what feels

like the first run since kissing your cold cheek 

as you slept in ICU. Already stone.

It is the eve of Saint Valentine’s Day. 

As I run, I think of your young widow. 

Cherry blossoms are in bloom and a snowy 

white egret stands on a rock.

Shimmering in the early morning light, 

the jade waters of Stow Lake. Two laughing 

boys your age when first we met rush past 

to wave the egret into flight.

The lovely bird hesitates. 

Lifts a foot.

Regains its perch. 

Another excited flapping of hands and – whoosh! 

The bird takes off, a flutter of wings, a flash of heaven.

Like the scent of cherry blossoms, already a memory.

for Erik Pedersen (January 2, 1969 – January 13, 2016) The Comstock Review, Summer 2020

Our Bodies Hold the Memory

Glancing at the calendar,
you note the date:
          the anniversary
                   of your father’s death,
the miscarriage,
          the stillborn birth,
the heated words,
          the separation,
                    the divorce,
the loss of your job,
                    your daughter’s overdose

( ) the empty arms ache

So many losses,
          or wrong decisions,
                    setting your life
                              in a new direction
                                       from which you are
                                                         recovering still

from Havik 2020: Homeword

Grief’s Proximity

Darkness enters the water. 
The water casts luminous ripples
on what is and is not moving.
Nothing. Not one thing as ordinary,
or as extraordinary, as tree, leaf, cattail,
bulrush, or smooth gray river rock
toward us, or whispers, “Hello.”
Heads bowed, we watch the moon thread
itself through thin rails or wet light,
its beauty cruel and indifferent.

Third Prize, Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference. Published in Noyo River Review, Vol. 6

The Boy and the Moon

for Giovanni

How many months of your tender life
have you and the moon been in deep conversation
as I have held your growing body next to mine, 
eavesdropping with delight?
Little Poet, will words be your salvation, too?
At home, the stuffed lions in your crib 
roar their ferocious roars
and the storybook roosters
crow their cock-a-doodle-do
and in this wide open
world outside
the moon walks with you.
Is he a cool and remote father,
all too often absent and asleep?
Or is she a mercurial mother who weeps
a galaxy of broken stars when each night falls?
“Hello,” you whisper. “Hello.” I hug you tight. 
What lies before you as you walk this uneven path 
lit by a careless moon?
Will you remember to open wide your arms
and scoop up joy when beauty falls from the sky?
Will you find the words to keep you safe and whole?
Please. Thank you. Goodbye. 
“Hello,” I whisper. “Hello.”

                    by Robin Michel
Finalist, the Knightville Poetry Prize, 
published in The New Guard, December 2011