Very little lasts in the sweet-smelling
spring. Acid-etched metals show a cosmos
of rain’s needlework. It seems this bleeding
sticks to me too, and I no longer feel
like my body is a bold stroke across
the ochre and steel landscape. The toothed sound
of my movement saws into the quiet
puddle of air. My bones willow and bite.
My lungs are a workshop. The thing is, I
want to be both engine and earth. The cage
of technology and the bower of
infinite color. So, as my legs turn
like seasons, every bruise greens. I carry
these marks into the gray world, plant them there.
Rust flowers behind my eyes. Little stars
blooming, then melting like spittle into
soft earth. A wheelbarrow bearing water,
I must not lose too much of myself when
the cup of the past thirsts for me. I fill
it first with the lead pouring down my neck
in church-bell slugs, then with the whitewater
pinning me within myself. I fill it
with pools of light gathering in acres
of shoeprints. Sometimes the cup is shallow.
A pinhole filled by the feathery gasp
of soft exhaustion. Other times, the cup
voices a deep drought. I cannot give it
enough and there is so much left to give.
Dane Hamann works as an editor for a textbook publisher in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University, where he has served as the poetry editor of TriQuarterly for the past five years. His chapbook Q&A was recently published by Sutra Press.