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Michelle Bitting: In the Museum of the Dream Where I Am Falling from the Sky

~ after Auden

And waking, realize I’ve gotten my suffering all wrong.
But startled, feel miraculous, mastering flight somehow.
A superhero three hundred feet up like that martyred son
with wings made of dreadful wax and a scientist’s heart
eating sunbeams and treetops. The clouds, my roller skates
at the edge of the world. I gaze down on peoples’ heads, familiar
crowds from past lives I want desperately to avoid. I worry
in my feathered trusses about what they’ll say if I’m seen
up close and human. Then my dream flings opens and vision
crashes. I land dead center of the group that is crossing a bridge,
but they turn leisurely from my disaster, my silent cry, my
melting failure. They could care less, and their indifference
stings in relief. I am among them and my clothes are off,
my pale legs a delicate ship with do-it-yourself kegs
of anxiety and torture stowed in every visible pore. You may
have heard the splash and been amazed, me and my not-so
innocent behind scratching green water. More likely, though,
you, like the others, had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Copyright 2023 Michelle Bitting

Michelle Bitting’s books include Nightmares & Miracles (Two Sylvias Press, 2022). She lives in Pacific Palisades, California.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, now seen as a good early copy of Bruegel’s original.

2 comments on “Michelle Bitting: In the Museum of the Dream Where I Am Falling from the Sky

  1. Loranneke
    March 1, 2023

    Ah, “about suffering”…What a brilliant poem by Michelle Bitting. Now what superb work with syntax & concision, imagery and tone!


    • Vox Populi
      March 1, 2023

      I agree, Laure-Anne. Michelle is a superb crafts person.



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