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.
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.
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.
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
storm. I can’t get enough is what worries me.
I want even more horror and beauty, melded.
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.