Out of chicken wire and weather,
it appears on a neighbor’s lawn.
It’s simple really, the water they spilled over
into sheets and icicle —and the dumb bumps
my hand wants.
Now we walk by. Now evening
arrogates the giraffe, its eyes
cold as a light on the surface of a lake.
Vatic giraffe! ...if you could gallop savannah,
you would sound like holidays
in our rickety, old apartments
but you are clear as these days
and brutal truthful, like pattern. Someone
passed out on a carpet— flat—
I know the neighbors who imagined you
already have dismantled you: piece
by funny piece.
(in the old Army Navy, 9th and Walnut)
That was in an elevator, “claptrap” you said,
at the back of the jacket aisle.
A clerk had had to bring us up—
and when the door swung open,
it gusted into us, the old gym
qua tent room, it soared white and stripped
into us: the high windows
waved and stained and the bleachers
stoop-shouldered, lonely like rocks. You were holding
my right hand, and we could see
dozens of tents (dark red, orange, one emerald)
had been arranged around the room, placed
like friendly, hollow
The clerk cleared her throat. You can go in—
She sneezed into her sleeve
and then we’re climbing in, like children,
on our hands and knees: on the other
side of the room somewhere
you’re making owl sounds. Goofy,
but they rise, disturbing the air.
(And across one wall, the orange-gold
end of the day begins.)
—David Mitchell Hanson (1972-2014)
Mariela, the garbage washed up in a hedgerow
Mariela, the end of the film reel ticking quietly. Like a forest after rain
Mariela, china stacked in the hutch, the teacups’ gleam, like loved animals (the cats Orville and Lucy asleep, in the mud room, in the sun)
Mariela, the gravel road, the still spill of the rocks, Mariela, it leaned forward, rose on certain nights
Mariela, the sludge of the drop-pit. Wild turkeys aligning the hill, through husk and stubble
Mariela, a black trash-bag some hunter dumped, ripped open by claws. The four deer legs there. Sawed off, they ended oddly at the hooves, which seemed prudish or delicate
Mariela, the phone attached to the kitchen wall, Mariela, the house we know has left us a haze
Mariela, Vacationland! …a tablecloth map of the States and what each was known for: Arizona, Boulder Dam, a giant, stained cactus; Minnesota, Duluth; Wyoming, Devil’s Tower, Yellowstone