(from This is Only A Test)

16. Lullaby

from the ancient blessing Lilith abi or Lilith away. as in a means to keep a demon at bay. they say she is beautiful. they say she is harmless. say take this pendant and keep it close. sing lullaby to forget. the song is easy. the meter a metronome. the click click click click click click so rapid. as if the very soil were afraid.

24. (                    )

we were making

love in the sand

there was no light

and that was all there was

I couldn’t imagine

perfect articulation

of bones and tendons

you straddled

and unraveled

and that was all

our full geology

a cross-section of myth

and doubt

the shift of hip

os coxae

basin of all that

is after us

the night resumed

and we knew nothing

would take us away


Too late for lessons. The teacher builds students of haystacks and grains. A semi-circle without desks. They are forever late and indifferent. Their pencils are still sharp. Their papers have blown into the dirt road or stuck to the fence. However, they are pliable and are beaten wildly with sticks. The shrieks carry far across a land. All its tall grasses have been removed. This is done in preparation of bread and feed. The stacks are explosions of dust and chaff. A pedagogical sneeze. A nose wiped on a sleeve. The work settles into hair, the creases of clothes.


We keep tight groups. Creation can undo us slowly. Beginning at the eyes and the face where there is most heat. Then all becomes sound and loose-lipped hope. Take the river crossing for example. On the far side a bear circles and circles patiently destroying a bull moose. We wait days for everyone to get their fill. The water mumbles and repeats carrying off the bleating. This world obsessed with trees. A way through between clumsy spilt paths that point out and back.

Michael McLane is an editor for Sugar House Review and saltfront: studies in human habit(at). His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in numerous journals including: Colorado Review, Laurel Review, Interim, Sidebrow, Western Humanities Review, and The Dark Mountain Project. He lives in Salt Lake City, where he runs the literary programming for the Utah Humanities Council.

Images by Elfie Hintington courtesy of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

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