“When He Doesn’t Get the Job” by Michelle Bitting

Michelle Bitting


And the only mail that comes is from people wanting money, I look out the window at two pink blooms—wild lilies—their long, alien stems out of nowhere touched down on an ivy bank I’m told rats nest in when you don’t trim it. If only to think garlands, perfumed thoughts about us—the wrestled years, rocky soil and thriving anyway, like these two mulish plants; every day the marriage opening its eyes, sitting up to take another sip of air. And noting each bud’s meaty cup, rosy star-shaped sphincter, how the flesh mirrors mine where he still hunkers down to kiss each glazed petal, the snail trail of licks—groundswell when he takes the whole warm fruit inside—nibbling slowly, gently, I’m scared there won’t be enough, the way I’m scared now, only the feeling switched, ingrown, such a vicious creature, would rather gnaw its own tail than go without a meal. There it sits, sucking its teeth, grubbing the ivy for one fat crumb. Nose to the mud, an enemy of day, the unbid brightness bursting around. Have you heard about the girl, fed her spite when faced with cutbacks? How the green leaves quivered:
there’ll never be enough
there’ll never be enough

from Rattle #24, Winter 2005


Michelle Bitting: “I wrote this poem on a hot, stagnant day mid-summer. We had little money and no plans for a vacation whatsoever. I was pissed but it was lovely outside and I didn’t want to feel empty and without. So I pulled this little rabbit from my hat hoping to make some sense and beauty out of nothing. Maybe I was successful.”

Rattle Logo