Michael Schmeltzer was born in Yokosuka, Japan, and eventually moved to the U.S. He is the author of the collaborative, nonfiction book A Single Throat Opens (Black Lawrence Press, 2017,) a lyric exploration of addiction, and two books of poetry: Blood Song (Two Sylvias Press, 2016), which was longlisted for the Julie Suk 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 PANK, among others.
Here we begin, cosmic and comical:
like the mess of this universe, or the universe
unmade by sheets and your bare legs.
On this bed we've been so drunk
the room is a planet in manic rotation.
The universe responds to your back, the curve
and dark energy of bodies
only partially visible. I want to believe
all revolutions begin
with explosions, some fire
in the center of our being.
Your chest, this universe, expanding and contracting
even while we sleep. At your most
you can create
or annihilate everything.
Most days the universe is no bigger
than buying the perfect fitted sheets
the color of celery.
In the kitchen my favorite
In the bathroom a white robe
hanging from the doorknob.
In the bedroom there is no bed
and no place that remembers
the hook-shaped birthmark
on your hip. There is no hip
covered by a black dress
but there is a black dress
crumpled in the corner,
a storm of silk.
There was one night between us. You tore
the very sky down.
Coax the bed to expand.
Some nights you suffocate
because of the body nearby,
the smell of sweat on a pillow.
This galaxy is minute;
I don't know what else to tell you.
If you've seen
you've seen them all.
This poem is part of a "domestic panic" series I'm working on. As with many of the pieces in the series it begins where fear and desire intersect, especially when seen through the thick and thin lenses of time. Side note: a thank you to Kat Dixon, whose poetry I was reading while I wrote this poem. Her work/technique played a part in this creation.