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Michelle DeRose—Two Poems

The Spinning Center

Well traveled lovers, we have filled

the same set of suitcases together

for thirty years, know the seams

where grit likes to hide, still

set them side-by-side in the trunk,

on conveyor belts.


in this logged room fixed

in your family for 74 years, I

need you to turn the music off

so I don’t follow the lyrics

to Wildflowers. So I stay

in this room with our suitcases

where your grandparents perhaps

touched each other after four

children and a mistress. Turn

the music off long enough

to board the bed’s space

ship, feel its trembling

lift off.

Us in the galaxy now,

familiar vessels unearthing young pulsars,

moving deep into the Milky

Way, closer to time’s spinning

center than we have ever been—

Second Tuesday of September

A golden shovel after Richard Wright

How clear the sky, a

good morning to walk with the buggy, balmy

with sunshine, garden flags in gentle wind.

My seven week-old reminding

me of air’s soothing power, giving me

an hour’s silence, an hour of

my body all my own. Then something

happens. My husband calls and I

pull the tv out of attic storage, watch people who cannot

withstand any more. That sky, the last they will recall.

Michelle DeRose

Michelle DeRose is Professor of English at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she teaches creative writing and African-American, Irish, and world literatures. She is the 2023 recipient of the Faruq Z Bey award for a poem relating to music and the 2022 first place winner from the Poetry Society of Michigan for a poem about loss. You can find some of her recent poetry in The Healing Muse, Dunes Review, The Lakeshore Review, Sparks of Calliope, and G.I. Days: An Anthology of Military Life.


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