a sense of sequence            regenerates

                                 a spine of sundress clasps

evasive lines
around an aging eye

                                            the light presents

a counterweight
to presence

                                 perfunctory flight of crows

                                                                            (all excess flight

impacted in pose)

                                 a boy streaks fireflies on his shirt

stones jut in the sand

mannequin’s hipbones

                                 a searchlight perfects the pause

in which a dark
divides a cloak

                                 with the bright-boned words

on a public frontis

                                            they were chasing down places

                                                       chased down by strangeness

                      and the map short-circuited
                                                                                        such is youth

                                            whose best defense is stillness


struggles out of clothes

                      all extremities left off

she catches herself

with the attitude of blessing

           her bed that fades

into the cluttered floor


half-unpicked stitches

the frenzied poise

of old trees—true,

           the sex knuckled over

but the smell of hair

hung there

like a feathered lure

by parentheses
          her voice

allows its fingernails to curl

over the balcony

          a night’s worth of whispers

          sewing so gracefully


in the mind


in a sense so small
white tights wrinkle at the ankles

Michelle Gil-Montero is a graduate of Brown University and, in 2007, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her poems have appeared recently in Colorado Review, Third Coast, and Cincinnati Review. She also translates contemporary Latin American poetry, and her translations have appeared in Conjunctions, Circumference, Cipher, Jacket, and other journals.