SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

This Time of Night

We’re all in the same boat ready to float off the edge of the world. ~ The Band

When I should be asleep

but stay up anyway

step outside to sneak a smoke

behind the recycling bin

froth of soda cans

grass green bottles

spent water from France

a silo of silent witnesses

once effervescent

their colorful labels

torn and scraped now

glass shadows

cast to a rubber raft

under stars

the soft swish

of listing palms

that lean down

but can never reach far enough

lend a hand up

to new dignity.

We are not all in the same boat.

The lucky

find reinvention:

shelf sentinels

curiosities

emerald knickknacks

maybe something more

than holding someone’s luxuries.

Who knows.

Is there a purpose for everything

behind the human grind

beyond the shade

of blameless recycling?

Strangers in a truck

redeeming emptiness

sanctioned on the side

the traffic of coins

sputtered back

at disreputable living

a huddled shimmering

flatbeds

shuttled off in the dark

wet necks

liquid eyes

that glitter the night

shivering as their captors walk

fast from sight

pockets laden with gold

and don’t you just want to

turn them on their heads

shake them hard

til they break

til they shatter

like stars

spilling back

all that stolen brightness?


Michelle Bitting won the 2018 Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, and a fourth collection, Broken Kingdom, won the 2018 Catamaran Prize and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2018. She has poems published in The American Poetry Review, Narrative, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review, Vinyl Poetry, Plume, Thrush, Raleigh Review, the Paris-American, AJP, Green Mountains Review, and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes, (including Pushcart 2018 and Best of the Net 2018) and recently, The Pablo Neruda, American Literary Review and Tupelo Quarterly poetry contests.

Choosing

Not Language: