Monday Jun 24

DumanisMichael Michael Dumanis is author of My Soviet Union (U of Massachusetts P, 2007), and coeditor, with Cate Marvin, of the anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (Sarabande, 2006). He is Associate Professor of English at Cleveland State University, where he also serves as Director of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, a literary press. New work appears, or is forthcoming, in Copper Nickel, Poetry International, and Ploughshares. He is spending Fall 2011 as an Artist-in-Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California.
The Mileage

The wind fills my ribcage.
Blood enters my wrist.
I pace one heatscarred
courtyard with no purpose,
then, all day, drive
the road into the car.
The tires burn.
The trees do not stop moving.
There isn't much
to do in Terre Haute.
There isn't much
to do in New York City,
the sky a stern face,
the sky a gauze mouth,
and which is more scary,
the possible permanence
of an idea like gone
or the possibly permanent
thrum of the ceiling fan,
static inside me?
In the light-engulfed truck stop,
I hide from my death.
My mouth swells with teeth.
I make love to my sandwich.
I pretend I'm the person
each moment has chosen,
that castles appear
by the roadside and only for me.
The child would like to be
when he grows up
a lightning field, an outburst
of hydrangeas, a ghost, a cloud,
some kind of astronaut
or superhero, and a big black dog.
The child into the house
carries dead birds.
In the imagined future I
arrive beside you,
pretend you're the person
I drove through my life for,
dragging your hand
through my fiberglass hair.
The God that's laughing
at us through the fog
sounds like a wounded
screech owl, but more human.
The crows keep giving
birth to smaller crows.
A child keeps rolling
down the same green hill.
The fog cuts the heads
off the buildings.
The World

out of blue distances out of closed rooms
out of the pavement and out of the mist
out of the hologram buildings
out of the bright machines and clamor
through the electric landscape we believe in
we wander here we collect ourselves
out of the architecture into the air
likewise in autumn likewise in spring
time pauses long enough for us to tune
the tiny radios inside our chests
we turn them up so we can hear each other
as people come toward us like flashes of light
and tell us the names of the people they love
there are so many flowers
and all of them have names
we move ourselves around them almost dancing
into the stillness and into the wind
breath catching long enough for you to clutch
a stranger’s hand

as people drift past us like clouds from a dream
we had once about the sky