Say Not Yet
Sometimes / pretend to be the last thing I need /which one of us is the man / (neither) / which one of us is good / (my tongue doesn’t know) / Sometimes pretend you’re rope / sometimes the hammer // there’s a clearing / painting targets on our backs / with elm sap / ( If we saw a visual of how trees talk / we’d never speak again) / Sometimes /be the last thing I need /say not yet / which is different than no // say boy you are the barnacle / wedded to the world / I will not fail / to dislodge you
Say / be the landscape / I’m chipping away / to surrender your center // Sometimes / be the last / I’ll ever need / say not yet / your germs on my germs / (we’ll never speak again)
Thickly Settled II
I think you’re protecting him,
you tell the baby flounder
pancaking a minnow. I swallow,
lit from a weed gummy,
which keeps me from saying,
he’s eating him,
he’s eating him.
We leave the visitor center
for the marsh trail; I’m
a ball of light, every yellow reed
You don’t kiss me
on the bridge where
the children could see. You don’t
kiss me in the woods either.
In the wild, I thickly settle—
fiddler crab with his sand pit,
his distended claw.
Why don’t you ever fucking relax?
I ask, holding a whelk;
I ask, holding a whelk;
a father instructs his son to
shake one and the snail will come out.
Sometimes it’s so easy to guess
who the bad people are, you tell
the water I wade further into.
I plant my feet
so the sand and fish will eat them.
Lily-Livered is the Inheritance
I want to tell her I’m sorry, that the knife becomes reddest
when possibility enters the field—again—dripping like horses
chewed by the moon until their fur gleams
with tartar. I want to tell her sorry became the knife—
pressed to my stubble, my stubble the possible field.
Please, a horse dies to make me what I am,
the foam on his muscles, the foam in my lungs remembers the moon
needs my liver watered. Please, I want to tell her, I’ll stay
alive just enough, anchored by the bit in my mouth, drinking anyway,
Wren Hanks is the author of The Rise of Genderqueer, a 2018 selection for Brain Mill Press's Mineral Point Poetry Series. A 2016 Lambda Literary Emerging Writers Fellow, his poetry has been a finalist for Indiana Review's 1/2 K Prize and anthologized in Best New Poets. His recent work appears in Indiana Review, New South, Waxwing, and elsewhere. He is also the author of Prophet Fever (Hyacinth Girl Press), an Elgin Award finalist. He lives in Brooklyn, where he works as a coordinator for Animal Care Center of NYC's New Hope program, a proactive community initiative that finds homes for pets (and wildlife) in need.