Cutaneous by Nicole Michaels

Old woman in a cool green sweater,
lying like a tissue paper frog on her bed.

Her head is a pond, too deep and long gone,
infrequent visitors leave wax

flowers at its crumbling banks.
Why shouldn’t she refuse

the social calendar charting October activities,
with its fiery hues and cartoon pumpkins,

fanning turkeys and buckled hats. All month
she’ll take her coffee in her room,

covering the cup with a napkin,
cradling herself between sips,

hands grasping the pads of her own elbows.
During breathing treatments she’ll slip

her face into the mask,
stare at the bubbler on the wall,

as a mist grows
and settles around the room,

until there is croaking and she
breathes through her skin –



Nicole Michaels is a Marin County, CA native who makes her home in frontier Wyoming. She is a working poet with a degree in English from Stanford University where she studied under the late Diane Middlebrook and chose an emphasis in feminist studies. She spent some time in the American South as a journalist for small papers.

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