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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Etter

Michelle Boisseau's Among the Gorgons (U of Tampa, 2016)

Favourite passages from Michelle's last book following her death from cancer last year:


a spread of stars we found

ourselves side by side,

two fluences shading into each other

while a score of fingers scored

the delta's tranquil riot.

end of 'Some Years in the History of Love Poetry'

So let's walk the ruins, let's walk along the ocean

and listen to death's undying devotion.

last stanza of 'Death Gets into the Suburbs'

The pleasure of knowing oneself

is knowing one's plenty.

end of 'Hubbubbing'

While you drag your noise

over us, we're living our

farfetched lives, driving

on wipsy roads

to miniscule jobs

as we furtively

tuck things under roofs

and talk in glitters.

opening stanza of 'Flyover Country'

...then like a typo, her tumor was repeated.

The catch in the brain frayed and spread

ambitiously like a city. Faster, faster

boats emptied settlers.

from 'Wax for the Sleigh Runners'

Grasses switch, vectors

of birds: carry me, carry me

like a mite on a feather.

from 'Cumulonimbus'

Since our mother died my sister and I

have stalked old ladies crossing the street

or tediously scaling flights of stairs.

from 'Flaunt'

Sex is a struck gong

rolling its waves ever onward.

This is my body of evidence.

Its jurisdiction grows like nebulae.

end of '92-Year-Old Nude Descending a Staircase'

Ugly is the mother of the sublime--dreadful

and magnetic, it sucks you over edges

with the torque of awe, so much like love

it must be love.

from 'Ugglig'

My story's told with corners. From all four

dark paint crowds my tallow body glowing

in muscular gloom.

from 'Gallery Slave: After Caravaggio'

Here I be monsters

wiggling luminous jungles slicked with eggs

worms blooming eyes and the deep sighs

of swimming mountains nursing mountains

from 'Body Wholly Body'

Winter has packed off its steel glare

and skipped town without a mourner.

opening stanza of 'Continental Drift'

The antique peace

of a ticking clock. The cries of sledding outside.

the portrait is resolved, a masterpiece,

not the old trouble spots the painter sees.

end of 'Once Again'

A billion seconds ago

I ripped through Ohio and half a dozen boyfriends

in two million seconds and you spread a quilt

with your first wife by the Tidal Basin.

from 'Million Million'

How could I know, how could anyone

but a saint know that as I was rolling

in the dark seas of grief, a small craft

was being built in me and now by the time

the nets are spooled over laps for mending

and the singing begins, the frank exchange

between moon and moonlight is amping up.

last stanza of 'The Voyage of the Sentence Begins'

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