The Tao that can be Named is not the Tao but Love by Michelle Bitting


So about your clothes:
take them off.

Gods in drag
sing unabashedly

inside each familiar,
splitting cell.

Return to the ground now
and kiss me. There.

Let our spirits be rarified
beyond recognition.

Meaning, I want you.
Meaning, my mouth does.

A gentle cascade of you.
Your milkiest stars.

We are all transcending numbers
watching the same planets

sparkle, for instance.
Admit it: the body,

a landscape populated
by unknown deities

where we long
to kneel and pray.

And the warmest spot,
this Via Negativa we’ve come

to know, no other name for it
but heaven.


Michelle Bitting’s third collection is The Couple Who Fell to Earth (C & R Press), named to Kirkus Reviews‘ Best Books of 2016. She has poems published or forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Narrative, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review, Vinyl Poetry, Plume, Diode, Tabula Poetica, the Paris-American, AJP, Green Mountains Review, Harvard Review (“Renga for Obama”), and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes, (including Best of the Net 2017 from Thrush Poetry Journal) and recently, The Pablo Neruda, American Literary Review and Tupelo Quarterly poetry contests. Michelle won the 2018 Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, and a fourth collection, Broken Kingdom won the Catamaran Prize and is due out in 2018.