You lured me in the woodlight of the afternoon
when the sun fingered the stumps of trees
and I was tired of wandering in cobbled shoes
with a knapsack of beans tied over one shoulder.

Into your hands I came, timid as a dormouse
all gray and thin-furred, all twitchy. Your laugh
showed teeth shiny like waxing moons and I stared
until they exploded into stars and I wished on them.

Drink this, you said, and I did, and fell headlong
into a tin, one like my grandmother kept lard in
before the wolf wandered by, a tight-lidded hollow
of bottomless shine. My screams were loud & silver.

I am coiled into my skin as a frog in a downpour –
knees inside chin inside breasts inside uterus inside blood,
a surge of sap inside my ear drum. I am swimming
within myself, all tail and eye, tadpoled.

I hear you humming, metal whale sounds that remind
me of orca and a beach there is no room for in this tin,
footprints I left to dissolve in icy lick and froth. They
are guttural, the thrust and press of heel patterned in grains.

One day, you open the lid. Go, you say, but I am congealed,
stuck to the ribs of slick walls. You shake the tin hard,
rattle, curse, bang on my bones with a hammer, splintering.
But I stay, lips smashed against cheek, cheek inside heart.


Learn more about Michelle S. Lee at