All in by Michele Battiste

by Michele Battiste

the earth shifted                uncomfortably

on its axis, its oceans        swelling in defiance

of the tides. The moon      hesitated in her

orbit, uncertain of the       trajectory.

Dusk loitered above the horizon, radiating

a heat previously               unknown to climate

scientists. Grasslands        paused their sway,

rigid in the                        disturbance.


Old men flooded               online markets, depleted

stocks of body                   paint and long strands

of rhinestones. Children   rose from early bedtimes

to stroke their parents’ backs and guide them gently

to their rooms. Deer          crept from the outskirts

of yards to huddle                beneath open

windows and they             could not be chased


away. Pale-winged            moths fluttered by the dozen

in the blue light                 of screens and they could

not be chased away. Ghosts who crossed—meek

and obedient—crossed back with reckless

speed and they could        not be chased away.


Gravity shrugged off        certain burdensome

laws. Sound waves           bent at undiscovered

angles. Matter                   sidestepped the customary

forms, and the vast            unknown forces

of the universe let go one long-held collective breath

knowing exactly               what will happen next.


Michele Battiste’s latest book is Waiting for the Wreck to Burn, which received the 2018 Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press and will be published in Spring, 2019. She is also the author of Uprising and Ink for an Odd Cartography, both from Black Lawrence Press. She lives in Colorado where she raises money to save the planet. Visit her at