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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


by Michelle Bitting

for Dorianne

She speaks of blackberries, sweet multitudes of them
outside the house, stepping through the door
to be swallowed by a bulbous green tide. So flush
the blooming waves, neighbors spend Sundays
stooped about yards, hacking unruly nubs,
dark-fruited vines. Jam for eternity she says,
wonders why local markets overcharge
for what's manifold, rampant.

Makes me think of that Fat Cat oil exec,
thick-jowled one from Exxon
with lopsided lips. Who can forget
those seeds-for-eyes, the cartoon-huge cheeks
full of steaming smug loaves,
his ugly mug flooding the internet when
he greased millions during a presumed crisis?

What if plenty were enough, the crowded mouth
of one relieved by another too tired, too hungry to speak?
What if Jesus hadn't been such a loser,
had made disciples middlemen? Imagine bread
and fish wrangled, wrung through sweetheart pacts--
the profit crops, women and wine dealt, in the end,
to an elite few, while thousands grovel on hot
and dusty shores, swept away,
in time, by a sea of shimmering opulence.

Michelle Bitting has work forthcoming or published in Glimmer Train, Swink, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Daily, Narrative, Small Spiral Notebook, Nimrod, The Southeast Review, Many Mountains Moving, Passages North, The Comstock Review, Poetry Southeast, Vox, Rattle, Gargoyle and others. She has won the Glimmer Train, Rock & Sling Virginia Brendemeuhl Award and Poets On Parnassus Poetry Competitions. Formerly a dancer and a chef, she volunteers extensively with the hungry and homeless. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, actor Phil Abrams, and their two children. Visit her website. She says, "At this point, I write because I have to. There is just no other way to survive."