Moby Dick Individuation
The story grows larger with each passing
page. The cannibal passes time, counting
pages in a pew like a child counts stars.
One falls and sizzles, lost to black water.
Sometimes a pipe is really a coffin, but a sign buried
bodes well for second comings. I bite down,
my bone leg propped in place. The whale,
a captain roped to her crucifix. Wind and entrails
of a compass lashed around white teeth. Becoming
becomes me; I’m afraid of I don’t know
what. Time and a throat that dries, pried open
in awe. My head made of blubber, light
for a thousand lamps. Sheen of milked sky
and this new moon rising as my old code fades,
flashed from shore. Once, I stood before the wave,
the monster breaching. What could I do
but dive straight for it? When the first myth dies,
my red flag opens, a tenderest void. Harpoon thrust,
the frighted air, and then the heart, burst.
176 The Paris-American
Michelle Bitting has work published in The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Narrative, diode, the L.A. Weekly, Manor House Quarterly and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and as the Weekly Feature on Verse Daily. Essays appear in The Enchanting Literary Verses. Her book Good Friday Kiss won the DeNovo First Book Award and Notes to the Beloved, won the Sacramento Poetry Center Award and received a starred Kirkus Review. Michelle has taught poetry in the U.C.L.A. Extension Writer’s Program, at Twin Towers prison with a grant from Poets & Writers Magazine and is an active California Poet in the Schools. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University, Oregon and is pursuing a PhD in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
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