Michael Schmeltzer was born in Yokosuka, Japan, and eventually moved to the U.S. He is the author of the collaborative, epistolary memoir, A Single Throat Opens (Black Lawrence Press, 2017,) which explores addiction, family, and childhood, as well as two books of poetry: Blood Song (Two Sylvias Press, 2016), which was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and Elegy/Elk River (Floating Bridge Press, 2015), winner of the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. His writing can be found in Black Warrior Review, Mid-American Review, The Shallow Ends, Split Lip Magazine, and Water~Stone Review, among others.

Previously in Glass: A Journal of Poetry: Unmade Sheets Like the Mess of This Universe

Michael Schmeltzer

The Falling

for Devin Sparrows built a nest under the eaves of our house so now I fear the falling of little birds. ~ Another sad hiccup of a fact: birds eat birds. Why should that bother me when I see what we are capable of? A prisoner tortured, draped and hooded like a crow, arms extended. He stands on a box and never takes flight. He dies grounded. ~ Say flightless. Say plummet as if it were a ripe fruit and not the motion of red juice dropping off my daughter's chin. How do I explain the distance between falling and failing is negligible? I can’t keep catching her. I know the many ways we meet the ground. I know wings won't save us. ~ I had a friend whose whole life rose like the delicate throat of a cormorant snared around the neck, her life sustained by the smallest fish. She loved pictures of animals yawning, the jaws opened not in violence but exhaustion. When she died I could not catch my breath. I'm sorry; I keep trying to tell you something beautiful about the way the birds now trill outside my windows but my sorrow chirps urgent as hungry chicks. Tell me you hear the birds anyway. Tell me you’ll arrive with food falling from your mouth.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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