By Michelle Y. Burke
A man can give up so much,
can limit himself to handwritten correspondence,
to foods made of whole grains,
to heat from a woodstove, logs
hewn by his own hand and stacked neatly
like corpses by the backdoor.

He can play nocturnes by heart.
They will not make the beloved appear.
He can learn the names of all the birds
in the valley. Not one
will be enticed to learn his.

Poem copyright ©2009 by Michelle Y. Burke and reprinted from Lake Effect, Vol. 13, Spring 2009, by permission of Michelle Y. Burke and the publisher.

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Poet Michelle Y. Burke

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Life Choices, Love, Nature

 Michelle Y. Burke


Born in Pennsylvania, Michelle Y. Burke earned her BA from Loyola University Maryland and her MFA in creative writing from the Ohio State University. She has received two Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry prizes (2011, 2012) and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Vermont Studio Center. Her poetry has recently appeared in So to Speak, Georgetown Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Horse Loquela (2007), was published by . . .

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SUBJECT Life Choices, Love, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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