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Nils Michals

Chantepleure #1

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Let a forest's luxuriant fur be a heavy
petting, a springtime riot in nervous
upshies of sun.
Let sun
be mistaken for ibis, majestically irrelevant
among the pines and ferns, a willful rook
carried down in goldthread, in accidental thralldom
like some ideal star in a mind, some unconcern
in the mind of a hand.
Let the risk
words bring follow suit: glissando,
glassy creek, see-through troutlets
bolting shallow to shallow are all hereby
wild. Did you know
that the birds over time lighten
to have less a shadow?
Even the deer in fawn, albeit trembling
at every diversion the wind feels within,
comes close. Come close,
let quicken
want, let lighten
light and let quicken surface
where only too soon the woods will be a deep,
thick as charcoal-fisted vellum,
harboring the charge of a possible harm:
the pulmonary
tightening, slight part and rush of ocean
coming in, the barely audible

Chantepleure #2

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The word for a hole,
a narrow slit in
an otherwise stone wall,
a pretty device by which
to slip through and away,
leaving some other
to stumble over the syllables
of pills, a kind of deep
and deeper finding of oneself
in a wood, eyes
pied, upgaped, eyes
nympholeptic at the fresh
undersides of the crowns.
And yet the sea under the sky
assembles so effortlessly elsewhere,
as water will collect,
will have a natural
affinity for another side,
must pass, and in passing,
will indiscriminately
feel. Indeed, sunlight
windmills down. Indeed
she seems to know
how to recline just so,
eyes closed, mouth a slender
island until I can tell
my dreaming has been telling
on me: a sea where once
was a wood. Furious bluff,
gloaming spray where once her nape
crossed to shade, a hand held
at bay from port of call,
a reluctant finding of oneself deep
and more deeply ravished
by the sweep of a lighthouse.

Chantepleure #3

What's a train whistle out here but the insistence
of a thing that does not belong—
the bells as well,
demented from belfries and dropping imperially
loud, a strange
hot-rodding up and down the skyline.
Here at town edge where the bison push
about the paddock their enormous heads
is the only sensible music.
All's telephone lines leaping and twilight
stupefied, twilight hewn
by far avenues of bare maples blooming up
the blue newslight of living rooms.
Must there always be a man
calls himself father, son, now dignitary,
now beggar, places an arm at your shoulder,
now holds at arm's length with his eyes.
Must all to fawn upon fall to deep lawyering,
somehow closer to and further from a fact.
God these bison are huge
and languorous in their quietude—
just the heavy passage
of their breath, the occasional collapse of icy
clods or sticks beneath their shifting.
When it is coldest when it is cloudless
after the echoing coos of the wasted
have pressed for heat, have been lost up
to night sky,
I don't at all feel like I thought—
that is, when the hour's unbroken save trains and bells,
and the white without turns all unconscious
of wheel ringed by greater clockwheel,
I don't feel at all
there is any more
in the way of air or light or time or women.

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