Michelle Battiste


The labor of staying
is similar to the labor
of not screaming outside
your mouth. That is

to say it’s work to keep
the swallowed keens
and screeches swallowed.
Fuck you, you’d like
to gently and civilly
reply, your clenched fist
so effervescent with middle
finger it floats to end

of your reach, hovers
and shakes when no one
is looking and rarely
does anyone look. Think

of a child’s fist, so often
filled with treasure
and dexterous enough
to grab more. You

have long since (when?)
forgotten to grab what
you value and find
yourself stroking a ladle,

wondering at its ability
to sink and then surface
so heavy with muchness,
more than you ever thought

it could hold.