I dreamed of an earth in the body. Sky
pulling back into eyelids, adjourning.
Oh, those colors, the green aquarium
of how I come into the morning.
A girl, and mortal, and dumb
with sight. I wish I could keep this
sweet. That there was not ash sown
into the rust, into the water.
Into the leve green of breath,
the flight of birds away from the body,
home to the body. The first warm
night in so many. That I am tired
of dignity, that I have received so much
of it, more than my due,
and like the mourning dove, I now call
mostly from the bridge of the world's
black night. Untaught, I've lived.
Smoothed it out, like the lilac's
wild hair, like her high, high violet hat
and head. I wish that I could keep this sweet.
That, in her tender gray neck
there was not a buried burr,
a barb, a knot of wire, rusting.
That the borrowed sumac
was not poisoning the entire lawn,
casting his wide shadow of harm.
That we were not so hungry
all the time. Impatient with
one another. Burning one another,
wet branch by wet branch. The smoke
of one another lilting, covering
the valley, like a threadbare sheet
lofted over the bed. Christ, it's true.
I dreamed of the snuff-colored ground,
the burnished erosion, the neck
and harp and tension of the cords
in the voice. Its twang and century.
How, like a she-bear, I have licked
this language into shape, and now
the fat lies aside, white and leaved.
Now the body lies aside, for a moment.
Then lifts itself to go on working.
Hannah Craig lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the author of This History that Just Happened (Parlor Press, 2017). Her work has recently appeared in journals like the Mid-American Review, North American Review, and Copper Nickel. She was the winner of the New Measure Poetry Prize, Mississippi Review Poetry Prize, and The Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize.