PoetryIssue 04 | April 2009

Two Poems by Michael Bazzett

The Side of the Road

I was sitting on a stone wall beneath a gently warming sun.
It was still early enough that the rock felt cool and small
birds were flitting in and out of mesquite shadow –I wondered
what kind of bird they were.  While this was occurring
I also happened to be imprisoned within a cage of my own desires.

I was waiting for a possible bus.  I wasn’t certain of its arrival,
but the stone wall and the small birds seemed enough for now. 
So I paid heed to the shrinking shadows and heard the profound
silence of the road stretching out in either direction,
wondering only occasionally if a bus did happen to happen
this way whether there would be room for me as well as my cage. 

It’s unwieldy and constructed in a somewhat haphazard fashion.
The bamboo joints are tied with hairy twine instead of rattan,
the pattern of the bars is uneven, but the water bottle
has an effective rubber seal and the feed tray is wired in
so securely that if I inadvertently back into it the pellets don’t
spill into the shredded paper or the cedar shavings that line my bed.

What I’m telling you – the road, the sun, the birds – all happened
under a sky that was blue enough that I can’t possibly describe it here
but there is one thing I will nonetheless try to relate, and it is unnerving:
when I stood and started walking down the empty road in one
of the two possible directions, I caught a peripheral flickering and looked
down at my shadow: it was nothing but the lean profile of a man –
arms swinging loose at his sides –  there was no outline of a cage at all.

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About the author

Michael Bazzett’s favorite mode of transportation is reading a book in his hammock. He has new work forthcoming in Cream City Review, Literary Imagination, Massachusetts Review, Pleiades, and Prairie Schooner. Read his chapbook, The Imaginary City.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok