Michael Schmeltzer

Fragility is How We Survive

Like a dandelion clock, for instance,
blown apart by a fox’s breath;

that is how I’ve floated this far.
Not by anything other than gentleness

do I owe allegiance.
It worries me how many follow

the flight of an arrow
rather than the path of the pappus.

When the world confuses worship
and warship, all we can do

is sink. Even sailors are more
eggshell than coconut

but most nations remain
machete-minded. I am as dangerous

as an elegant spoon. I carry inside me
the same golden thing

even the most vile soldiers do.
Strike me down

if you don’t believe. I break
myself too often

to prove
so much less.

Michael Schmeltzer was born in Japan and eventually moved to the US. He is the co-author of the nonfiction book, “A Single Throat Opens,” a lyric exploration of addiction and family. His debut “Blood Song” was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, the Coil Book Award, and the Julie Suk Award. He was most recently a finalist for the Jake Adam York Prize for his second manuscript. He lives in Seattle where he serves as President of Floating Bridge Press.

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Winter 2021