Michelle Bittings Poems



With Take Another Little Piece of My Heart Now, Baby

Blaring on the Car Radio




And the dashboard flashing its yellow light

two miles outside town,


I know my tires need air

but which one?


Sometimes the heart has too much air


or not enough. So I stop,

squeeze the pump,

wrestle the gust

and gasp. What if more

sucks out?


What if reckless backfires? What if

this is Lorca’s highway…


to take the wrong turn


and that coyote crying in the hills

plans to make me a midnight meal?


There’s never fair warning

just this steady state

of famished


and time, our preferred prey,

darting under the rough brush.


The thickest parts. 


My heart

a flashlight. My heart

a scythe


a switchblade,

slashing my own tires,


to see what happens,


to hear bones

grinding over

stripped down struts,

brash disaster. I could watch these wheels

burn around 


for a hundred years

gliding over

the perilous edge,


over and over, my love roams

an abandoned road

and I wave back


bloody pages,


that alarm clock 

coyote, one step behind,


red entrails


my dirty feet drag


stamped in perfect heart-shaped prints. 






Michelle Bitting grew up near the Pacific Ocean and has work published or forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Narrative, River Styx, Crab Orchard Review, diode, Linebreak, the L.A. Weekly 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 recently commenced work on a PhD in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Visit her at: www.michellebitting.com






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