Two Poems by Taylor Harrison Micks

Contest Between Harmony and Invention
The festival of lights is not about self knowing, or looking inward:
the flags strung up over the festival are a boat race more than
they are prayerflags, where by the docks we hear the harvestsong
from across the lake, and my throat is sore as if I sang it too.
And I tell you a sandpiper that I saw, reminded me of my own
lovemaking—his fleet-of-foot to the tide. Birdsteps, I can’t tell
if they’re cautious, following the tide where it swings, gone out
to where the dark waves are just a sound. Music of a garment
being torn, an orifice of the spirit closes with the stars overpowered
by the festival’s light. The sandpiper, called a curlew here,
becomes a shadow. Most dreams are gray like that, dreams I color-in
upon waking, but two of color, actually of dream color, came to me
last night and in the first, books piled high to the ceiling divided
us two. You lit a cigarette, said only desire could make us poor.
In the second, the wintercoats on the backs of chairs multiplied,
in every style, falling to the floor off the chairbacks like petals.


A Walk for Postage
Even I’m impressed at the jaunty tempo
mustered in my footfalls passed the assisted
living for folks in wheelchairs; always a few
puffing out front. I may be dizzy for love,
or dizzy for a provocateur. I see it
in the bobbing boughs. Of course I feel
it pout in my lungs. “Bazaar in a Jar”
is a church function apparently,
and the scalloped Art Deco makes one
wonder at the parishioners. Are they bashful?
Besmirched? — piling in the backseat
of a resurrection. Bleak overhead, the low
clouds in gradations of newsprint. Lonely
as a shepherdess, or however I might deign
to characterize a stranger, a woman in the park
dizzies herself — bowing and circling her tripod.
As though a mortal puncture has depressurized
my cabin, the shutterbug’s spaniel finishes
me in a mosaic gust of still-grain yellow leaves.
To have peace in giving away and receiving
is to become, oneself sacred. There was a limby
thistlebush the color of mica, its flowers demi-
secondeing up then low, floated away, lighter
than air at the touch of a yellow bird’s play
this morning, beholding flowers as though it
were me growing, them breathing. My eyes
dripped like fists.


About the Poet

Taylor Harrison Micks is a poet from Columbus, Ohio and an alumnus of Ohio State. He lives in Champaign, Illinois, studying for an MFA in Poetry at the University of Illinois, and has had poems published in Ninth Letter.