Four Poems by Brandon Hansen

Gatlinburg

A Nail.in Tuesday

you are not yourself lately, less a phalanx now
more Anthrax maybe, scattered like the whole air this morning
the six spotted fishing spider dances, the ten-leaved tree
barely breathes, the ring of keys beneath the pier
tangos in the seaweed.

You? An elixir today.
The wraith of mist on the water, the dust
of pollen over the cut of horizon.
You lean, the lake whimpers.
The flare of sun, you stare in the water,

wizard what’s different
about your limbs
and you list it—

say here is what’s weirdest
the tendons
the hairs
on the shoulders
the sword
on your back
the nose
and the spirit.

Gatlinburg

Thank you fire. The lick of you
down the neck of Mt. LeConte
has put the smoke in our eyes
that we need to sleep.

You’ve freed the tired Tennessee sugar maples
from the choking witch hazels, your heat has popped
the boulders like hand grenades, warmed
the pebbles for our backs and feet.

Thank you fire
for jumping the river,
for this sixty-tree grove burnt clean
for us to be, to hook elbows
like boomerangs, sing to salamanders
as the grass grows.
Fire, we call you wild. You wander
on the trail, then not, every second
since the first we’ve thought my god,
my god, too much.
But thank you, fire

for this soot she scoops to use to write
her name on my hips, for the switch
of fingers on brass strings, those ringing notes,
they pull the rain from space.

We Haven’t Gone to Moab

but we sing tough songs in lonely places,
library staircases and birch groves
where foxes sprint through and you
and I can say, hey,
we’ve seen him before.

We haven’t gone to Moab,
but we’ve pulled tadpoles from the mud, we’ve kissed
until there’s blood and we’ve traded
fevers on the weekdays—a caustic relay,
a feedback loop
and you and I
we’ve coughed the dust of iron,
felt that spray of rust

just feet from screaming trains
the rainy nights we
run in places with chipped paint signs
that tell us where to go
and where to not—

and the cold mornings,
we’d paint starry pictures,
pencil scriptures on our hands,
whisper that we’re tired and
do nothing about it.

We haven’t gone to Moab,
and I know the way he’s danced back
in town, sunk hips
into the couch, the cushion of our lives,
has you missing those spinning hills,
the crimson spill in those old rocks—

I see this in the way you punch
his arms these days, the shifting old
light in your eyes every dying evening—

oh, my jump from grace. Oh,
how I’ll whimper every time
at how you stare out the window
when we drive off places;
at that hook in your voice
when he can’t come.

Cross Threads

The bench/the lobby/the piano-
sweet tea soaks the keys,
scents the air like sugar
and you breathe,

think maybe of
those puddles as a kid
in the old growth forests of Michigan,

I think of
my puddles in Wisconsin,
how impossible it is
we never teleported pool to pool
to fill hands with hands

when I was nine,
and you were nine.

How now we collide in this city where the wind
licks the bones, no,
soaks the veins,
we leap the ice I learn
your middle name is Joy—

the story? It started with a thread,
a double-helix twist in the fingers of God
or whoever. You phased
through the doors of this building,
brought a swirl of snow with you.

Brandon Hansen is from a village in Wisconsin named Long Lake, where he is wary of the geese. His writing is in Puerto Del Sol, Cape Rock, Dunes Review, and elsewhere. He is a former Pushcart Nominee, and he’s heard of “Tupperware Parties,” but he still isn’t sure that they’re real. His website is here: https://brandonhansenwriting.wordpress.com/

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