When Uncle was buried,
it was on top of Great-Grandfather
for the cemetery had long been full on the ground floor.
Uncle was able to meet Great-Grandfather
for the first time since he was seven.
Uncle was surprised by Great-Grandfather’s gingham dress,
which, Great-Grandfather explained, was Great-Aunt’s.
Being buried next to each other, they had
mixed together during their melting period.
They were looking forward to what Uncle would bring.
Would he ante up a new toe for the ones that were lost?
(Such is the absent-mindedness of the dead.)
Great-Grandfather/Great-Aunt also needed a belt
and memories of a colorful bird in a green, green tree.
They wanted again to see what the eyes see as they rot away,
the beautiful distortions of the earth.
Your hair is an answer to the light.
It is “no.” It is “scat!” It is “don’t
come sniffin’ round here no more.”
And so the light
must find another place to scavenge,
to curl into a ball and sleep restlessly.
The light sinks into your eyes,
nests in your mind,
casts shadows as words and nipples,
flickers and twinkles and sighs.
God, An Autobiography
I arrived in the town when it was dark.
The place was quiet.
The people hid in closets, unable to sleep for days.
What’s come before has changed this place forever.
There were accidents and an epidemic.
The blood turned to dust in the veins, stopping the heart.
This didn’t affect everyone—there were survivors.
Dirt in a flowing stream can remain suspended for eternity.
The bodies, as always, flowed down the river,
Were buried by more fortunate towns downstream.
The survivors are no longer men,
Only the shepherds in the fields still really exist.
Things I Remembered After Getting Off the Phone With You
The name of the new woman at work who dries up pens with her touch.
What I need from the grocery store.
There’s a movie I should tape for Rachel.
There was a sad note in your voice.
Ryan said to tell you hello. He’s thinking of getting a cat.
I never finished copying the cake recipe. All is incomplete.
I need to vacuum behind the couch for the needles I dropped there last night.
Your voice was a bright light—startling, beautiful, oppressive.
The litter box needs changing. There are bones in there.
You never finished your sentence on your reason for calling,
The reason your voice was 1000 miles out and sinking.
Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and now lives in Atlanta, GA. Her book Ambushing Water is forthcoming from Brick Road Poetry Press. Her work has appeared in over 45 journals and anthologies, including Hubbub, Iodine, Rosebud, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird. Currently, she is on the editorial staff for Loose Change Magazine. She has edited Hayden’s Ferry Review, worked for The Meacham Writers’ Conference, and been a resident at The Hambidge Center. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.