Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick
You'll Feel Better if You Make a List
There's a pair of red high-heels beside
my bedroom door. A lamp. Dresser. Mirror.
A can of mixed nuts. A prayer book
by my pillow. My journal. A box
I haven't unpacked since moving
to Texas with every test I ever took.
A voice on speakerphone please don't
talk like that. It scares me. I feel a dramatic
wave outside my window. Maybe I won't
eat for a few days. Baby you had me cryin'
hard. Two curtains. A robe descending.
Francine Makes Honey for a Man Named Frederick
Francine buys mirrors of different shapes on days she wants to be a man. She wakes and her body is a foreigner on a bicycle in a dress by a river. I like these days, she writes, mornings when even my voice is honey. Francine hangs mirrors in back of a red barn by a field. That way, I can be a man and not know it. Francine believes in tearing through things. To find how to desire, she writes, I imagine a bicycle tire, a dress that 's not mine, honey and a day to be what's in my head. Francine buys mirrors, wakes again beside a man by the sea, holding her own hand.
Francine Believes Nightmares are One Way to Feel In-Her-Body
The body, she writes, wants me
to talk. I'd rather be in two places
at once. There are scavengers
in the garbage. They dig as I do the garden
until Frenzy opens her chest and lets
me in. A ghost made of daffodils.
I dreamed we fucked upside down,
let the world listen, let her in.
A spinning ball—nerve bundles,
the base of our spines—ignited, train
of daffodil-bodies. We are
two places: the living,
the dead. Open my chest. Hurry.
There are scavengers. Let me in.
One Day We Will Want to Be Here
We were born clutching this thing, a feather in the river
and now we wander looking for the other, a wing
under a rock, maybe, in someone's hair or belly.
In the middle of the country stands a man, alone
for thirteen years, keeping to himself a secret
well. The livestock know his mind. Each morning
it breaks over wheat like the sun with its eyes closed,
carrying wood from the river, bits of moss without
an anchor. It says, Can't stay here. In the middle,
everything spills out twisted heart, joy, at once. We are
born with him in his rib as fish, swimming upstream,
toward him, a mind. The simplest middle-county stone
The Moment I Realized I Wanted it More
than I want the absence of it.
It rained two days after. I passed out
from pain walking from the parking lot
to my front door. I noticed a spider, frantic—
how something as small as a drop can damage
her web. She works on rebuilding it as if
her life depends on it. It does.