Bottomless Sounds

A woman I haven’t seen before walks through the door and demands my attention. She is taller than a medium-sized person. She is a lioness. A redheaded delight. Her lips take up her entire face. They’re red and I want to kiss them, bite them, and stick them in the pocket of my jeans.

Dear David

When dolphins die they call out their own name. They do this to make sure their family is close––they do this to remind their near ones: this is who I am. I am here now. I have known joy.

Our Feather

We didn’t recognise his terror. We loved him cold. When his battered heart stopped, we cried and tried to bring him back, fingering lightly his pale feathers.

My Mother, the Moon

I remember thinking her head looked like the moon: covered in bumps and divots. I wanted to explore the topography of her scalp, but instead I clenched my hands into fists at my sides until my fingernails left half-crescent indents on my palms.

When I Was a Fish

We’ve dug our way to the top of the casket. Our pockets are filled with plastic and wood, roots we’ve twisted off and not eaten. We’re tunneling up, making a barrier against the earth above our heads.

Two Poems by Hannah VanderHart

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.

A Constant Emptying

I ran all the way home, my backpack bouncing and smacking me in the small of my back. I fell breathless on the couch, turned on the TV, and stayed there until the nightly news came on. The man’s body had washed ashore. The paramedics didn’t know if he’d died before or after he’d gone over Niagara Falls.

Scales

She's snoring, her face turned to the wall. I want to wake her, see if we can take tweezers to it, extract it like a splinter or a rotted tooth and forget it ever was there, but I know it wouldn't take. Her legs are on loan.

Leashed

Things around me tend to die. People, plants, relationships…you name it. My father killed by a hit-and-run driver when I was eighteen, my mom with breast cancer a year later. I’ll spare the details, other than to say that this past summer my husband and I lost what would have been our first child.