November 27, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Janko Ferlic photo



Michele Leavitt




Hilton Head, November



Someone is flying a kite on the beach,

but I can’t see who, even though

the old dunes were bulldozed long ago

for a view of the waves.


“Who was Hilton?” you ask, and I say

“Some rich guy,” and you ask if I also feel

a sense of dread, and I say no,

hopping on my bicycle as if pedaling ahead of history.


A block inland, chainsawed remains

of last month’s hurricane

line the street, trunks and limbs

ready for a bone-fire.


We make mistakes, always.

How can we fly kites, knowing this,

or even ride a small wave barely strong

enough to push us to shore?


At a great pine blow-down,

walls ripped aside like playing cards

expose gated communities

as if they were mere women.


Now we see the rich and their secret

tennis courts, swept clean of wreckage

by busy workers. The players

bat the balls, back and forth, back and forth.


Someone has heaped

the splintered wood in latent pyres

despite the wildfire warnings

and the smoke pushing east.


The world has been on fire since its birth,

and whoever stops to grieve will surely burn.





News Diet



last fall the sandhill cranes came late

we visited them on the prairie

where they marched over mudflats

by the thousands beaks stabbing

at what might fatten them ignoring

tripods and birdwatchers and even

the lone whooping crane who hung

like a classic white shirt in their midst

this winter the legions depart early

as if like you and me they feel some urgency

to flee but no stop

this foolishness they fly their cries tumble

through clouds with inhuman news






Michele Leavitt

Michele Leavitt, a poet and essayist, is also a high school dropout, hepatitis C survivor, and former trial attorney. Her essays appear in venues including Guernica, Catapult, and The Sycamore Review. Recent poems can be found in Poet Lore, North American Review, Hermeneutic Chaos, Gravel, and Baltimore Review.

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