Two Poems by Hannah VanderHart

Dowry of a Nature Explorer

I would give to my son the leg of David
Attenborough, from wandering foot on
gravelly outcrop to pale young calf
stalking up the mountainside of the gorilla,
to sinewed thigh somewhere underneath
the creased khakis. Come to think, the khakis
are less important than the toes that clutch
at the earth like a gecko’s, that seem to drink
from puddles like a fly or butterfly or spider.
Here is a hiking boot for you, and here is
the world whether the EPA exists or not.
You exist in the world like Attenborough,
like gorillas, like rocks in the deep, like
life roughly hidden in fossil pictures.

The Pink Duck: Last Confirmed Sighting Darbhanga, India, 1935

A diving bird, the pink duck returns for its things. What things? Whatever we took that made it dip its pink head under the waters, not to reappear. Its iridescent beetles, split-wings lifting in the air; its patch of jade grass; its water lilies; its tufted body, without the bullet’s path and tear.

The pink duck cocks its head at you the way only a duck can, its rose bill cast to the side. Its eye a small onyx.

It sounds its call. A note not heard for many years. One more detail we forgot to write down in the fumble for our heart’s desire.


Image Credit: Henrik Grönvold

About the author

Hannah VanderHart

Hannah lives and teaches in Durham, NC. She is currently at Duke University writing her dissertation on gender and collaboration poetics in the seventeenth century. She has poems and reviews recently published and forthcoming at The McNeese Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Unbroken Journal, Thrush, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and The Greensboro Review. More at: