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About this Poem 

"This poem is part of a longer sequence of poems whose origins come from time spent along the D&R Canal in New Jersey. Have you been there? You should go. Despite the violence in the poem it is a dazzlingly beautiful place. And only one hour from Penn Station!" —Michael Dickman

From the Canal

Michael Dickman

Something breathes
on a dead deer
and the hair inside its ears
wave

Headlights and
rubber

Water fills the black eyeholes that keep seeing everything reflected back from skidding
         black macadam

Someone cut your feet off

Someone moved your leg across the street

Someone whistled

Giving birth
you give birth to steam
and maggots

Strange new butterflies

Copyright © 2013 by Michael Dickman. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 18, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Michael Dickman. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 18, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Michael Dickman

Michael Dickman

Poet Michael Dickman's second collection of poetry, Flies, received the 2010 James Laughlin Award

by this poet

poem
First I get a father
from some city
of fathers

One with a neck

bright 
red

And with all the tiny bird bones in my fingers carefully tip his chin back into the light like love
     so I can see
     so I can smell

I tell a dirty joke, then drag the steel across the universe

There's
poem
What are the birds called
in that neighborhood
The dogs

There were dogs flying
from branch to
branch

My friends and I climbed up the telephone poles to sit on the power lines dressed like
   crows

Their voices sounded like lemons

They were a smooth sheet
They grew

black feathers

Not
poem
I sit down for dinner
with my dead brother
again

This is the last dream I ever want to have

Passing the forks 
around the table, passing 
the knives

There's nothing to worry about

One thing I want to know is who's in the kitchen right now if it isn't me

It isn't me

The kitchen is full of flies, flies are