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Nine Poems by Hannah Grady


Nine Poems by Hannah Grady

The Fog

The fog came unpredictably as a gift
(after the sticky sleep and awkward, stoic morning).
I smelled toast
but never saw it.
The door closed
I cried a little in the bathtub.

Right, the fog –
Hanging over the hole where the
Nets will play someday,
sliding down Dean Street as a happy hour
pickleback might at half-time
of Germany vs. Austria.

It came borrowed, the fog –
with a tearful wink,
from outside the Spaniard in drowsy Kinsale,
from the tidal flats of Green Harbor
where the engine of the Shannon Rose idles
expectantly – craving the open mouth of the sea
and its heavy fruit, frozen by summer storms –
Borrowed also from a late walk home
under the curved lanes
Bahnhof Ehrenfeld.

Those tangerine streetlamps …
I wish we had them
I wish a lot of things
light and locations.

Instead, the fog hangs sullen –
like a moustache
the clock-tower,
concealing the grimace of Time:
Me, and all the stocking-clad ladies in the Baptist Church (Praise! Praise!).
We know rain is coming.

Russian Standard
for simon

Legs akimbo, mister –
you are in my shirt.

Last night we hung sweetly on a hammock,
Eating murmurs and sighs under sounds of tv.
It is hanging now from a single hook:
the length of two humans folded
together, and dripping invisible oil –
sealing time or tender seclusion with salt.

Tonight there are tongues, maybe twelve –
Wagging one hundred disparate orders of words
about love, schnapps, and music –
a handful of languages perched
around a glass bottle,
weaving misunderstandings into a structure of yeses.

Toasting with soft and swollen fingertips –
dry and eager mouths as children have,
holding pocket chalk and a looking glass under August sun.
Your eyes shoot me like marbles
In fair and unfussy ways –
How this behooves us is
Lovely to consider –
and also so sad and somewhere between the two.

Legs akimbo, mister-
My shirt is in your pocket
Scratching sweat off my neck
With sweet and smoky teeth,
(I love them by the way)
The beat is brave
The fruit is fresh
The sun is somehow always still just rising:
The bridge, the river, our mouths and dirty hands –

Grown ups

Why can’t we give like we used to.
The way we did in the grass
by the Shaker cemetery –
fists of torn growth strewn in the shape of a partial virgin
Chins rubbed raw by someone’s close nodding
Cracked backs on baled hay.

How did the present become a history
Left unpublished –
Its long-handed account
of muted triumphs and non-atrocities
Sunken in some shipwreck
Anchoring us at the bottom of a rapid
upon which we didn’t want to be leaves.

What happened on that drive
The empty cans, the orchards, the manual transmission –
the engorged distance between speaker and ear.
Nothing of the rest I remember.
And neither do we now,
Rest ever anymore.
Is it because we were always dying
we’re finally foolish enough worry about it?

When did the this-ness of this get a little heavy
For our grip –
Squeezing our tempers,
bending our heartstrings a half-step too sharp.
We’re pitchy and bitching and forgot how to build
a fort of pillows or kiss with anxious intent.

Who is left after the subtraction
the deposits, the tip?
When our milk teeth have fallen out
And we need our mothers less.
Who is left then?
And how do we pay attention instead of selling it so we can learn how to love them?

“Super Moon”

Tonight, he is casting shallow because he can.
Banned from the house for sandy feet, we watch.
It is all pewter and ivory, barely discernable save the cool pull of pools on ankles.
I suppose if we were still children, we might believe that we are blanketed
and the light we see is a hole in our duvet, but –

There are other lights:
smoldering cigars glinting off lines,
lost embers from a neighbors fire,
glowing hints of a ship pitching on the line between yesterday and tomorrow.

We stand at the fold of the foaming tide,
the envelope licked and sealed
with messages we can’t begin to decode but wish we could.


when we fucked
in my truck
in Vermont
your hand caught my
necklace and after
I saw
my favorite track was scratched
straight off
a cd
by the rubbing of your
fist in
my hair.

The moon made
a bullet hole on your
that I plugged
with my tongue
feeling the bump and flush of your
to know
My legs could feel you were-
a hiccup in my tendons
played out
on a sad
swollen viola.

You kept breathing.
There were no surprises.
We swept everything up
and hung out the rug
and drove home.

made pickles
moved to Berlin
of it mattered

until a year
rolled into
the driveway
and nothing changed except
your tattoo
and my haircut
and chairs as always
inching this way and that

Dublin 1

I wake up to church bells, not surprised.
It is there in my window like a used toothpick.
It is there with an aching like I have,
to fill up with voices and patent leather shoes,
with stifled giggles and wise sighs.
Turning the skeleton key and into the street, I return to this snowglobe town.
It is always Christmas.
It is all ceramic and glitter.
I am fair in my sad pink dress, feet firmly in their snowglobe tracks.

A gangly ginger picks Dublin off a shelf, shakes us with his sticky fingers, and turns the skeleton key.

The church bells begin, and so do we.
Our familiar toybox tun
Ringing down the Abbey Cottage Lane:
veg sellers with fists of flowers,
windowboxes hanging low with foreign fruits,
gas lamps glowing
mist flying kite-sized clouds
shopping bags
and singing kids.
All the color is painted over grey
and my, isn’t it gorgeous
my isn’t it something.
It is.

Sticky fingered redhead shakes the city harder
and down we go
our eggs splayed out like abstract art
the windowboxes gone with the windows too
the gas lamps shattered
leaking streams of fire onto unlit lanes.

Here we go up Parnell Square West:
billowing buses with blood-sodden back seats
crowds outside the clinic
dirty prams and rotten teeth
a circle
a circle of young ones.
It must be a silver man with his violin case
here to save us from the rain
with songs and jigs and facepaint.
Hug your bag and peek in.
It is not the silver man
with the wheelbarrow
no, not the gold man with pointy ears.
There is no song, no facepaint.

It is a mother bent like a question mark
over her boy, at most 18.
Her hand on his track suit chest
Counting his breaths
through blistered lips
while the kiddies look on
sucking sweets and grinning sour.
His runners are white as snow.

“Shall I call an ambulance?”
“Sure, they all did. He just got his hands on the stuff again”
His hands are in the stuff again.
His hands are in the stuff.
Sticky fingers.
Red curls.
He’s on the stuff again.


letters from the bottle to the neck

One finds himself with a muddy Sunday afternoon, saying,
Please No. Not again:
never a moon-night,
not this Sunday.
I can see One walking his black dog home,
cannot kick him off the way he used to
in days gone by
before we were in the bottle
writing letters to the neck.

One, you cue the choir just when I’ve buckled in
for purgatory.

One, you shine me and here I hang on hoods
to talk grease and racetracks.

If One can peel away the pain of these missteps,
put the pumpkin back in the patch
navigate the belted sea of baggage
he may not die from coming this kind of home.

I cannot defang his dragon
I do not know his name
When the brainchild is born
bloody and smelling of sweetmeat pie,
I will let him cut the cord
And call that new middle name
by you
By you.
His name will be Someone One Somebody.


The Drain

Either a habit or a haunting,
This engine’s fire is relentless
The cracking cogs that for every man made
Two dozen are dead.
She said
one solid soupy morning
Love him like a bar of soap:
Neat, clean, useful.
Soft ivory slices curl under foamy fingernails
Easy, like a Polish workman’s perfect floorboards
Finished in silence.
The slippery residue blocking the drain
Poking with pink and ugly toes
to make the water run away,
Run away now.
He came in another room while I was still sleeping.
There will never be rest for me now
A bubbling worry that grows a gagging steam
Writing the mirror,
That dumb and true palimpsest,
with empty letterboxes,
barely missed invitations and airplanes,
Should haves and never wills,
That fuel the engine
Which jumpstarts the heart
Unwittingly and hardly still, still…
Even on the coldest of blade-sharp mornings.


A Long One

Winter watches the taxi man brush his coattails,
walk the soggy step to her key slot,
glance at the sizeable battered bags,
and light a long one:
Light is long gone
from the Georgian pane
the pain is palatable:
Sour figs and sweet limes,
(those Dawson street Sunday lunches).

She is a long distance love affair.
Without the flashy burden of leaves,
she sees through it
to suit modestly
the rush of heeled pond walk and ticket-ripping
the hope that Spring has had her sleep…
Ready to drive from the sea east at the slightest
green cry of
Why, wet night, why?

About the author

Hannah Grady is a writer and performer based in Maine. Her writing has appeared on Island Creek Oyster's Up The Creek blog, in the mailboxes of friends, and on many napkins. Currently, she is working on her first book, an intimate history titled The Carls. When not writing, Hannah enjoys working with oyster farms and the Danish performance collective, SIGNA.

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