Poetry by Danielle Hanson from Ambushing Water
The rain wouldn’t stop;
it came inside
the mind, like the sound
of canned laughter over music,
like hundreds of chickens
after so many generations.
The bird is almost touched
by shadow and begins
to close up
like a tulip.
It starts with the wings
pointing straight up at sky,
then tucking under and into her body.
The beak is next,
curling until disappeared.
The head follows,
a slow vortex slowing.
Finally the entire bird
has folded in on herself,
leaving nothing but a vague black perfume.
A leaf falls. The whole of night clings to that leaf.
After the Tree
After the tree was felled
it took a week
for its shadow
to leave the root.
Longer still for the shadows of birds—
and so it was,
they hovered mid-ground,
preening, chirping, hopping absurdly
Cats pounced until bored.
The birds woke with the sun
until fall came. It was months
before the shadows of their songs fell silent.
He Beat Her
And her back fell open
like a moth finding its wings.
He beat her and her back flew
open like a bird rising.
He beat her and her back
flew to a tree—
a tree was sketched
by the markings on her back.
He beat her and her back left
running so hard
it left its feet behind.
Red Nail Polish
You asked me to paint my nails red
and so, of course, I did
even though I hated the way
they stalked the eye.
My hand was suddenly not my own.
It was five cherry bombs
waiting to go off.
My arm was the shadow
of a red light district.
I should have gone but it was too late.
Fire ants were marching,
the sun was red and multiple,
the blue was red, the green, everything.
I wanted to cut my fingers off, escape,
but that would only let the color run
to the counter, the floor,
multiply like cockroaches and hide in the dark.
I couldn’t get them all anyway.
What would I do when one hand was only a stub?
I needed them. How could I sever them from you?
Tonight the goddess of love and war
is spitting the wind in our direction.
Regardless, you light candles
as if to lose some sun before tomorrow,
as if to hold the past as a smoldering match.
I am watching you hunt for the right words
and not to take you out of context
but someone has to take you
down this river. It’s been more times
than I’ve stood on the shore feeling the earth move,
feeling the mountains being exhumed.
I looked to continental drift theory,
discovered the heat, the radioactive decay,
feeding those peaks of lava,
tearing the ground apart beneath us like a hawk.
I know that I’ve looked into those chasms and seen you,
that losing you is forgetting love,
that it’s the sharpest blade you cannot feel.
the slingshot boys
shattered the streetlight,
darkness has been collecting
bits of itself
into a lonely corner
like a homesick
After a Nap and Groggy
I have done so little.
Today is aggressive, short.
I’ve lost something,
The flies have carried away our dreams
to build nests on cliffs too windy for memory.
They circle overhead like the fan
echoing: Come over. It’s late. I am alone.