Today's poem is by Noah Michelson

In My Next Life

Cartoon bluebirds carrying

(Clear berth, ballast of smudged gospel and early
morning, I'll shove off on an expedition
to the South Pole in short sleeves—icebox
blessing, penguin brotherhood, a panoramic family

portrait with the icebergs, my cradle, my blood.
Consider the degree to which the cold can be
a kind of induction, a new mathematics calculated
especially for the occasion, solve for starting over—

winter minus spring, continental snowstorm less
the unavoidable mess of melting, the inevitable
human puddle, near death during the day, near
death at night, just because, why not?)

the train of my wedding dress

(A picnic at the periodic table, square meal
of alkaline and noble gases, the things we do
for progress. a ping-pong ball moving at speeds
invisible to the naked eye—I'll play the lacquered

matinee villain, celluloid recipe for an instantly
recognizable Windex blue cocktail, cloying, likely,
one cup evil, two cups blunder, three cups
crushed ice and then blend and then wolf down

and by then I won't really resent the designation,
the unbearable horse-hair disguises, the reckless
requisite plots to take over, to blow up the world,
the burgeoning means to an end)

down the aisle

(The shrinking violet syndrome gone lukewarm,
perspective taken to wearing an old sheet and rattling
chains—I'll become the incredible shrinking woman,
indoor plumbing installed in the Barbie dream mansion

on my behalf, turf wars with the mice, a gradual
awakening as the world gets bigger, as I telescope
in upon myself, sight of every lost spoiled word
decomposing in the corners of the room as I cross-country

ski the parquet floors on popsicle sticks, slosh and guzzle
of every left for dead sensation when I clock the fastest
recorded time across the toilet bowl and back—never mind
the waves, never mind the voices caroling in the surf)

in their beaks.

Copyright © 2007 Noah Michelson All rights reserved
from Cimarron Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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