After You Told Me You’d Lived 64 Lives

Monday, heat lightning over the lake, milk-bright,
broad arcs of sprinklers scattering into mist,
useless in the wind’s gathering lift. This is year 36.
I am called 35. I understand nothing of my past
or future lives, though the airplane in the dream is always
tumbling, and I, below, half-running. Sometimes,
parachuted men drift between the stars. Disbelief
splits from its seed, blooms into something else.
One-hundred days since I left Taipei City, since I said
If I am Shi Da Road, you are rain, with no one in particular
in mind. Eight-thousand miles back to this town graced
with cottonwoods, successors to trees that shaded
trappers and traders, their gunpowder buried by the river.
They carried too much. They would return.
Cache La Poudre, they said. So it was, and so it is.
Tell me: Would you rather me here or there?

Michelle Turner holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Poet Lore, Sixth Finch, Southern Humanities Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Carolina Quarterly, and other journals. Born in Virginia and raised in New Jersey, she currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. You can find her at