SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

February Variations by Hannah Craig

For Bill


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.


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