Micah Ling

Micah Ling’s most recent collection is, Flashes of Life, on Hobart Press. She lives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and teaches English at a community college.

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Blood Falls

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This morning I biked down a country road

and saw a horse eating from its feed station. Hay,

I guess. The horse was fully erect: by far

the largest version of this I’ve seen.

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Earlier this week, my mother was in the hospital:

dizziness and liver failure and too many signs of fading.

But today she’s in her garden, doing well. What

she needed was water; only water.

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In East Antarctica there is red

saltwater gushing from a glacier: Blood Falls. It has been

building for millions of years. A reaction to oxygen.

And in Norway, 323 reindeer were killed in a single

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storm. I can’t get enough is what worries me.

I want even more horror and beauty, melded.

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Pants

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I’d like to have every pair of pants I’ve ever owned

mailed to me in a cardboard box. I’d like to lay them out:

line them up in chronological order from little-kid

to baggy to boyfriend to skinny. I’d like the ones

I tore a hole in while walking to a party

in Indiana, when denim was still denim

and not some stretchy hybrid. The pants I was carrying a cake in

when I tripped on the sidewalk. I’d like the pants

that got so thin both back pockets showed skin. And all the ones

I turned into cut-offs. I’d like to have

the white pants I got for Halloween

when I wanted to be a painter. It was the year

girls started dressing as sexy things,

and I felt like a boy, but didn’t mind: I was comfortable,

they were miserable. I’d like my entire overall phase

and my corduroy collection. I’d like the fleece-lined

pants that helped me survive a Montana spring

when it snowed each morning until July.

I’d like the grey sweatpants I wore to cross country meets

in college. The ones I thought were lucky

until they weren’t, and I broke my foot. I’d like my pants back

not because I need them, but to see that history

in leg form. Pants, as protection from cold Ferris wheel

seat, from sick, sick subway rider nudges.

Pants, as barrier between skin and weather:

bugs, and bees, and thistle. Pants as confidence,

as complete being, with zipper and button

and pockets. Where would I be without

pockets? For coins and phone and keys.

For rubber band wallet. Pockets for hands

for milk bones and ChapStick, and life. Pockets for life.

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