- Poetry, Reading, Writing

Three Poems, by Jefferson Hansen


Leveraged a Meadow

for Cece

You unfolded from
forms of careful guesses
placed in a time
where discussion
lacked for lack
of sleep. Trust found
another basis in
time’s staggers and
blunts, like alabaster
crimes no one knew
to report before
limitations. You
leveraged a meadow
in my least guarded
wilderness, taught
against what thrill
could come down
trees angling for sun.
What series of moments
could withstand
our wishes in the face
of purloined smells,
our struggles against
senses’ tyranny?
Enwrapped in
knowledge and fibers
garnered from repeated
requests for all
active information,
we came down a
sentence or two
to a ground level
as firm as a fault
line. We couldn’t find
the past if we looked
with steady lights
and a determined hand.
It flows in memories
formed for the near
future, not what
is gone away. Try
the salve, and think of
the way tree bark
slips off as the trunk
grows and expands.
There are new ways
of living dropped into
the dark fancy and
rigorous particulars.
We give as far
as the line allows,
when nothing comes
back from the going
out but sharp shadows
and blinding sunlight.


Out of Bed

It came again last night.
The waking will come
slow again this morning,
searching for the most
obvious way forward.
You lie back. So much
clings and hinders,
the buried leaves
beneath the snow.
Conscious stops and
limited beginnings, the
final start this morning
on the edge of an
imagined wilderness,
how to bring this body
into the complications
of the day’s unfolding.
Words cannot get to
where the heart is,
the brain, the way they
work with the skin
and blood. The seat
of feeling may be the
whole, the body
bearing its weight
as lightly as possible,
even hunched up
on the ice and
in the wind
on the scariest days
of winter. A quiet
chorus sings its
nonwords with wind
eddying around
rocks and through
trees, all imagined.
This body may also be
this song, the moving
air, the light, a way
of responding
to the earth’s
curvature. What is
given by thinking
of it, with our body,
that way? The stretch
of a beat, longer
and longer, a stick
held above a cymbal,
weighting the time,
then coming down
softly? Ears strain
toward the softest
tsh ever heard.
Time to give over
to a rhythm as easy
as can be made
this one day,
stretching in lazy
long waves—the
lightest of beats.



We grow ornamental
wings and hallucinate
the faces of our long dead.
Space, moving always
away, outlasts time, and
the water is upon us
for now. We walk knee-
deep through a flooded
cedar grove, the smell
of leaves sharp and
strong. The words are
written with a finger in
water. We dive and
our wings turn to flippers,
we morphing into sleek,
freshwater dolphins,
searching murky
water for swift
fish. If heat could turn
a corner and coolness
avenge, we could
find a way back, but we
have lost the keys to our
apartment. We come up
to out our snouts
and sound our sounds.
Downriver, the open
ocean bids us until
our flippers grow into
arms and our tails into
legs and our skin into
fur: we are bears
in the shallow current, fish
flapping in our jaws.
We are out for just
a little blood. You cry
and say you want
to be human again.
You hallucinate a crowd
on the edge of the flood
wading in to take us
back into the fold.
I put a paw on your
shoulder and whisper
“if only, if only.” We rub
noses then bound onto
shore. Boisterous,
we shake water from
our fur while standing
in the mud, the flood
easing. We amble
through the woods, wishing
we could turn into eagles
and fly, but so little is up
to us. Solid ground floats
on molten rock. The
sun sets red, big
through trees and
we look for branches
to make a bed for the
night. We rub noses and
fall into dreams of flying,
of hearing human voices
far below us, talking
of ribs and coleslaw
for dinner, with a couple
cold beers.

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