Michalle Gould


To Covet

Thy neighbor's wife has a round, open face.
Her hips are wide, but she does not ride a donkey.

Instead, she walks and her shadow runs after her,
its ankles smooth, like old pennies.

Her shoulders slope above them:
distant hills in a desert. A refuge, a mirage.

Her smile is open like the window
of an adolescent girl.

You lie in bed at night and imagine her chewing.
Broccoli. Sunflower seeds. These have gone before you.
You are too large to follow.

Her hair tumbles loose out her window,
you must run backwards to catch it.

Her hair is a ladder. You must climb it to reach her,
then dismantle it, so no others may follow you.

But if you should possess her,
you may not cut her hair on a Saturday.

We do not cut hair on the Seventh Day.
You shall not cut hair on the Sabbath Day.

Remember that. Do not ever forget that.

The Blind Man Sees the River

in the voice of his friend
who was born at its bank

The river is wide

The song stretches to cross it
humming like a cloud of mosquitoes

so the very air trembles

although the blind man can not see this
he stretches out his hands

immerses them in the water

and brings palms of river to his ears
to ease the song in

The Airplane Explains Itself

My wings couldn't hold me.
I was pushed.
Someone left a tornado in my path
and I tripped on it.
That loose cloud finally broke -
I fell through it.
The stage manager's wife left him -
he forgot to tighten my harness.
The rotation of the heavens made me dizzy.
The runway was icy and I slipped.
I may have had a seizure.
Maybe someone drugged my coffee?
I thought the parachute would catch me,
but it didn't open.

All my friends were doing it.


Green explosion painted onto the windowpane,
starburst of leaves from a single source,
but where is the tree?

Will you marry me tattooed in white ink upon
the sky's broad back, but where is the plane hiding
and who is the addressee?

The end is nigh proclaims a sign left in the middle of the road,
the rapture approaches, but where is the prophet?
Taken away to heaven?

Perhaps the end is already here.



Michalle Gould lives in Austin, Texas, where she teaches literature and writing and has recently learned to ride a bicycle.