Backwater Rising – Michele Battiste

Backwater rising, baby, come on.

There’s panic in the landscape.

What one glitch in hindsight reveals,


what one broadcast made us

believe, come on. Gather


the fractures of your self can’t be

recovered though you

stutter, frozen there. The aperture

like a wound, your split


lip messy with fluid

and nothing will be perceived

undamaged again.


Each movement threatens

a gap to let the water


  1. How stupid we were

to feel safe. We blink

the incremental


rising, risks dismissed

as minute, pieced together

like this. What mistaken faith holds

the landscape—I see now—lashed


together, the water

rising, your lashes the first

chaos. Leave it, baby, we cannot


be again the whole of it going

under, come on.

Michele Battiste

Michele Battiste is the author of Uprising and Ink for an Odd Cartography, both from Black Lawrence Press, and five chapbooks, including Left: Letters to Strangers (Grey Book). She lives and works in Colorado.

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