Michelle Gillett

Michelle Gillett
Michelle Gillett won the Backwaters Press Poetry Prize for Blinding the Goldfinches, selected by Hayden Carruth and published in 2005. She has won poetry awards from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and recently published work in Upstreet, Salamander, The Comstock Review, Southern Poetry Review and Orion. She received an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College.


What dream was lost when the fox's cry broke into the dark
calling his mate across the field, and woke me to the dark?
No one speaks the language anymore, those who escaped
blamed hunger or weather when they spoke of the dark.

One summer, we traveled from country to country.
High on the mountain, village men stoked fires in the dark.

Only a thin pane between us and the frozen world—
the cold carries the smell of wood smoke in the dark.

Remember Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Until Dark,"
smashing the lights, making a deadly joke of the dark?

What faith we have in sleep, trusting our bodies will wake
while night fills our vacancies—shadow-strokes in the dark.

"Time hurries by and we're here and we're gone," warns the song.
Someone used to whisper Michelle and hold me in the dark.

Coming About

The boat loves the water
the way pages are bound to a book
on the table by the window. Salt breeze
turns the pages, fills the jib. Coming about,
the boat leans close to the surface—
they almost touch, the real and reflected.  
But the boat is turning back to the dock.  
In a wake of light, the water hurries after.
There is something I need to tell you.
But the day, half-finished
like a story that keeps unfurling,
foreshadows a different ending.
Why else would I put down the book
and wait for you to come through the door?