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Joelle Hann Joelle Hann


One by one the animals disappeared
either shot
or destroying each other
or owned by banks
or the military,
the short dog, the eagle mean and not giving over,
the cheeky sparrow,
the terrible melancholic deer.

I admired their efforts in the face of apocalypse
and so lined up my inner animals in a similar formation:
the happy stupid one, the cheater, the bully,
the practicing intellectual,
the yogini, the softball champion—

they looked pretty good together
a nice cross-section of society
so I fixed myself a scotch and smoked cigars Washington-style
and laughed from deep under my pubic bones
where my phantom penis nervously waited —

once gathered this way
these characters acted like union officials
out back on their breaks
cigarettes burning in solidarity with the sunset;
one by one
they raised their hands over their hearts —

I grew up with animals, you know.

I always needed to rescue or rearrange something.
I never liked lace
the troubling gaps masquerading as pretty completions,
nor the spring branches, that dripped with rain
then became dry—

no, there must be order.
Fold shirts and jeans neatly
and put them in drawers
use make-up, mow the lawn, eat right,
the body gracious as a butler—

And as if nothing had happened
someone butted out her cigarette
looking sad like a Chihuahua
and said, “Heavy rustling of needles. Uplifted branches—
their shapes offer themselves up but then they seem to struggle
against their shape—”

—no one speaks like that

I turned away —
and when I looked back
she was gone
like the animals. No!
wait —
“When I looked back she was laughing,”
yes, like that, as though she actually
saw something in the trees
like a sign the fortune tellers had posted
giving up their charade:
be prepared for no answer

or maybe, be prepared for I.V. needles and crowded wards
an approximation of a conclusion

a body's knowledge here and there
then changed into something else —

Day After Day

miserable still, though different,
the morning sun rose into sight.

inside the hospital I was recovering
from a dailiness quite severe
something lost somewhere
or too much of me all around
or not enough.

The interviewers
looked down with a joke
sealed into their sympathy
like medical Houdinis; like secretaries
gone for too many cocktails
and all their makeups' running:

“If we asked you,
could you talk about this
more directly?”


“Could you write it
in these margins? Is it rhythmic?”

“Does it have sound?”

it has.
Repeating sounds, flashes and strikes.

“It has two parts then,
the facts and the flow;
numbers and voices.
Would you like to make a recording?”

I'd like to make amethyst.