Thursday Dec 07

HodgeAnnaClaire Anna Claire Hodge is a PhD student at Florida State University. She received her MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her poems have been anthologized in Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems as well as Best New Poets 2013, and have been named finalists for both the Copper Nickel and Bellingham Review poetry contests. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden's Ferry Review, The Collagist, The Journal, Copper Nickel, and Bellingham Review, among others.


Knitting & Sexting                                                                                       

He loves the way you reveal and conceal, the
division of breasts wrapped in silk, full and high

in the photo you send, face forgotten. A woman
sent in pieces. Stitches open and close as you shove

and slip, show the way. Like your brows, threaded
just today and slick with the saliva you use to tame

the hairs moments before the shutter of your camera
phone clicks, the lick and sweep of your fingers

as smooth as his paddle in the bay, time zones
from you, leading tourists to perfect blue coves,

repeating the jokes that work, the placed pauses, turn
of his shaved head, alert as the moment his pocket

vibrates and his hand, like fingers in a waistband,
slides in to meet your body on that tiny screen, little

poems of then I would, I want you to…and as you wait
for his reply, a new row appears on the scarf you began

last week. The knitting club’s members, gray and soft
in their easy chairs, would never guess that you might beg

like this, for hair-pulling, to be called whore. Rather,
they drew you into their laps, begged you closer

to learn this work of the hands, where to mark
the stitch. And at their urging, you slipped

ten dollars into a jar, entered a raffle for a basket
of needles and yarn you weren't sure you wanted.

She’d Be Dead by Spring                                                          

But that winter, we all gathered. A small
party of nine women who’d for months, written
their names on sign-up sheets to rinse
the chocolate meal replacement from her

feeding tube, queue again her favorite song, walk
the dog. We balanced plates of thin crackers
and brie on our knees, wore shirts emblazoned
with her name, the cotton tees the pink

of Depression glass molded into champagne
flutes, faint pink of candied hibiscus we
let sink into the wine, the gelled petals
falling open as they sunk amidst the trailing

pinprick bubbles. When she tired, we cleaned
the kitchen and I took the food home,
called friends who came quickly
to light my cigarettes, pour shots of whiskey,

hit the lights and dance in dark of the kitchen.
I leaned with a man against the counter top.
We stood there like that, kissing for hours.

On Considering Antidepressants

Because some days are boxes
to be crossed out in red ink, others,
small round pills to be punched

through foil. To press a palm to a child-proof cap,
shake out one white circle, then swallow,
is a bulletpoint, item completed to be

struck through. Like flossing, or the
peptide balm I knead into my thighs,
knowing that twelve bucks spent

at the drugstore won’t firm, hoping
diligence will. Like a pilot
who peers under a wing to check

for leaks, checks that his lights are bright
and clear. Like my father, who so often lifted
our family northward in a Beechcraft

Bonanza to spend entire summers
in the Blue Ridge Mountains, breaths
held as he banked left and we prayed

to bump safely onto the runway jutting
from one of those Jackson County peaks,
topography I believed I could memorize

as the six-seater glided down. I lie when
I say that later in my bunk, as my sister
tossed beneath me, those peaks’ pattern

would not form in my mind. I never
thought of them again, like the stations
of the cross, much repeated then forgotten

until now: Once, upon touchdown,
the nosewheel’s tire burst, and with
no jack to hoist the fuselage, Dad

left us eating candy in the musty
hangar, returned with fifty pound

sacks of horse feed that, tossed
in the cabin, would tilt the plane’s
nose to the sky like a bayonet.