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Because

Read by Sara Nicholson

Because the night belongs to lovers.
— Patti Smith

And felines and cat-like
you stalk shadows, unraveling
everything in the house tonight:
bustier lace, dark nipples
of rain, their plum curves
pressed to the window
as the curl of something feral
flirts under the curtain. You’re
naked, the bed, our boat
and bent over my body’s glass,
the moon through the slats
makes milk of its surface,
your tongue to the waves
cast deep as you rise
and the willow groans outside
in a stiff wind. I had no idea
how far down I was,
what igneous caves ran,
flaming orange
in my Barrier Reef, my underworld,
my Mauna Kea,
until you showed me
the mountain head, the raw stone
glowing, my buried gold
giving up its hottest
story—bronze posse
of feminine feet released,
running wild—high grass
and the whole wide land
at once, oh God,
rippling, rippling, rippling.

Michelle Bitting has work published or forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Narrative, Rattle, and others. Thomas Lux chose her full-length manuscript, Good Friday Kiss, as the winner of the DeNovo First Book Award, and C & R Press published it in 2008. Her book Notes to the Beloved, won the 2011 Sacramento Poetry Center Award and was published in 2012. 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 proud to be an active California Poet in the Schools. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University, Oregon and will commence work on a PhD in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute this fall, 2012.