Three Poems: Lee Hodge for Haunted Passages

 

Hostage
After Katie Peterson

On the night I ended it the police had cordoned off every street surrounding the block to investigate a threat that had been called in on the house across the street from yours. Can’t turn down that road the neighbors had told me before I turned down the road. They pointed at the yellow tape, can’t walk past that van they said after I’d parked and walked past the van and into the back door of your house. The block is surrounded by cops I said over the three empty bottles I saw on the table. The police told us to close the blinds and stay inside. You were touching my hair then pulling it. The swat truck arrived. They were talking to the man inside the house, shining a spotlight on the front door saying over the loud speaker come out the front door with your hands raised and follow the officers instructions and we’re here to help you. I watched through the cracks in the blinds of your windows while you tugged alternately at my arms or legs or waist. They are going to batter down the door I said. After they battered down the door they sent a phone inside, then a dog, then an officer, then a few more. He has a hostage in there I said, prying your grip off as you tried to get me away from the window. They cleared the first floor while we were in bed. Nothing could be seen from that side of the house. The voice on the loudspeaker kept repeating we want to protect you. It had been hours. The officers were tired. The sidewalk was a wash of blue light. The door was open and no one had come out. He’s not there I said. I looked at you. You looked at something past me. Oh, you said, he’s been gone for a while. 

 

Essay 2 Requires You to Enter Into Conversation with Your Audience As Well As Your Sources
For Susan Tallman

After we tested the statue theory
(that the shroud was singed by the surface
of freshly cast bronze) we brushed the linen
with olive oil, flaxseed and lavender.

The lab smelled of myrrh as we placed the laved fabric
inside the kiln, where pigment tinted hemoglobin fibrils
fluoresced. Please save your questions until the end.

Beyond a doubt, it’s a fraud cooked up
by six desperate clergymen in Lirey
They were broke off the clementine blight. Their cisterns
of handmade coin stamped with the mannish face
of a parishioner’s mother running low.

But it’s all I have, he’ll tell them and turn, stage right.
Pollen eventually, a strain of Iranian chamomile
floating through the trauma-red dawn
and lowering their eyes they pilgrimaged together,
tense with familial lust for the desert.

They have come to spit, to mark, to try
to touch with sight these splinters of a tooth
of an alter boy’s sister dead of cholera. In the shrine,
rock crystal hollow, the putrid holy marrow
spins, retroactive with light.

 

All the Stars 
After Lyn Hejinian

We’re stuck
just like now                                                               imitating people
who are
having sex or
a fight

not       forgetting                                            to check our email
or
water               the plants

after/ before.

*

We dreamt      of the ceiling                            a skin

through which
webs of electricity       shattered                     the       sky       into fragments
reformed and broke
and reformed again. Theses flashes                captured

the firmament in                     what reminded us                    of a camera

hammering each piece

into the silhouette                   hung                beneath above

an inscrutable distance. Dread.

I was beneath the skin when I came in.
The backdoor to the house was already open when I went out.

*

Clouds
were moving
the morning; a brushed cotton cloth
whipping endless and unsatisfied over a table top.

Fibers.             Static.

Still in the grip of dread.                                                         A dread.

A chunk of sod                        where it was                            not supposed to be

in the kitchen
A window screen.

*

All the stars                 of 4:47AM.

I had woke to a train whistle
and wrote a sentence containing
absolutely no images.

A sentence

that contained a small and unruly animal
known only through its
inability to be still.

All the stars
gathered vibrating
beneath above and before after.

I’m telling you, they were everywhere.

Sometimes in a lake the bottom is visible but the distance interminable.

In a shape like a structure
the points congregated, beaming, on the horizon.

*

I blinked alive
this house
for you.
The sentence                                                                           I wrote             glowing
on the horizon.

I only looked                                                   like myself

and could not be sure                                      of solitude.

 

 

Whatever you were doing right before
when what is happening is happening

the sentence said.

What are you telling me?

Train whistle.

Blue morning.
We forget
for what

we are grieving.

 

 

Lee Hodge is a current doctoral candidate in poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University and a bachelor’s degree in writing from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Tulane Review, Euphony, Heartwood, Clinch Mountain Review, After Hours, Funny Looking Dog Quarterly and Mouth. She is a recipient of a 2020 Laura Bassi Scholarship and a 2019 Carol Weinstein grant..

Image: aetv.com

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