July 12, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Michelle Robinson photo



Pat Hanahoe-Dosch




Brittle World



I cannot sing brittle today

My throat is a garrote


An owl called in a tree by my window last night

over and over:

who will rise in the morning?


Even crows circle, mute

The world is gassed

in choked silence

too brittle to breathe


Dirt clumps in waves

under my bare feet


Nothing stands sure, the air

brittle in haze and fire

What could rise from below?


Here is my hand, swathed in cotton,

bones touching bones swathed in skin

and rising blood


Dead bark of a mute oak

whose roots clump through my yard,

its bones the surety of the ground’s

stance against nothing, dirt, and brittle songs

mute now as the air burns






Hanging Laundry



White cotton sheets gesture in the breeze without

arm sleeves or mouths, silent as air hot from the day’s sun.


His grandparents’ wooden cross burns in the backyard fire pit.

Rot ate through it. Christ never hung there.


It hung for decades in their bedroom, now a space

for storage, nostalgia and trash. His inheritance.


On the evening of this laundry-day, shirts and pants

flap on the line, too, but no one escapes a hanging here.


Tonight that cross is thoroughly cremated.

The laundry is somber and still in the night watch.


Then morning blows ashes across the lawn.

Black grains leave dark streaks across white sheets.


They are now mother-of-pearl and whorled wood-grained stains

dancing in a harsh wind under an indifferent day.


They are markers, reminders, pointers

on how to survive a blowing wind, on how color


adds to the starched, stretched out cotton fibers clinging to rope.

The stains look like tie-dyed swirls in black and white.


The patterns startle the stunted back yard

birds to flight. The patterns dance on the line.


Stretched out later on a bed, folded and tucked

under a patchwork quilt of crimson, ebony, and gold,


the sheets lie still, cotton fibers waiting

to be pulled over skin and bone and wrap


like a shroud around his cotton dreams, ashes of nostalgia

crossed with rope and the dark, craven night.






Pat Hanahoe-Dosch

My poems have been published in Rattle, American Literary Review, The Paterson Literary Review, Confrontation, among many others. My first book of poems, Fleeing Back, and second, The Wrack Line, are available through FutureCycle Press (futurecycle.org) or Amazon. You can see more of my work at http://pathanahoedosch.blogspot.com. My twitter address is @PHanahoeDosch.

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