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Head Injury

Christopher Michel


                                                    outside the Ascended Masters Temple, 1987


I wake to a blue void

flecked with birds, clouds

smeared like spackle. My mouth

tastes metal. Cicadas somewhere

make strange rising noises, the

grubs, anchored in shade,

split along their backs. Grass

clippings prick my skin. My head

sticky with blood, I smell mildew,

willow tree pollen, tar. I sit up

at the far end of the parking lot

outside my father’s church

as chanting bursts from open

windows. His voice is in there

but I can’t pick it out. Cicadas.

My head throbs. I hear the sounds

they sing to make their hearts

split open, to let the light inside.





CHRISTOPHER MICHEL has an MFA from Syracuse University, and he received a Fulbright in 2006 to translate poetry from the Republic of Georgia. His work has been published, among other places, in Anatomy & Etymology as well as Free Lunch, where it was nominated for a Pushcart prize. He currently lives in Brooklyn’s secret Chinatown, as a stay-at-home dad.


A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure. - Henry David Thoreau


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