Three Poems

By: Hannah Stephenson




From nothing a form What makes a home
A table in the entryway raising its head
under your palm to take your keys
when you walk in Sweet and loyal furniture
Increasingly the local expresses itself to me
with deepening sweetness but oh the farther
away rooms of this country and world hold trauma
What does it mean to hold strangers
in my prayers In the kindest room
of my mind I think unhelpful thoughts
like I hope the wounded heal and May the children
return to their parents though I know that
some will not Auden handled death by cradling
its horror and absurdity Today I come back
to his words when Yeats died Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests
…But for him it was his last afternoon as himself
God this gets to me
Son you are about to inch your way from me
out into all of the worlds that this place is
Already you are yourself When you are born
the deer and foxes will run between the trees
elsewhere in Ohio elsewhere on our planet
Yes the wolves too They race through forests
that feel vast and whole even as we encroach
upon them They look up through tree limbs
and always see sky or just brush past the coarse pines
so very green so reassuringly green



 Green Smoothie

Having spoken in dust motes all else feels clunky
Every word a garage sale blender

The only way to lighten language is to spit out
what is heavy and sometimes we just must have
what is heavy

For all my weariness my friend prescribes a green smoothie
which is more of a mindset than a beverage

Here drink an entire garden
Here drink the backyard pulverized
one whole summer in a bottle

In removing the desire to be perfect
I become three hundred percent more appealing
to myself and immediately more valuable

Like a true herbivore
I have clarified and slowed my thinking



 Dream Feed

To eat as the clouds eat
and in eating water become air and cloud

To ingest all that is good

To guzzle sleep to gulp it down

To walk in the darkness toward the back
of the cave and never reach an end

To rock and be rocked
and become a river licking stones
to melt them

To speak into your mouth
a prayer for your voice to grow

To let the tiny dream in you
steep and expand

To be nourished without waking

To take without selfishness
what you need

To drink as a tunnel drinks

To feed and fill your cupboards
while below us along the street the porch lights
croon and croon

To call the light in



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Hannah Stephenson is a poet, writer, and editor living in Columbus, Ohio (where she also runs a literary event series called Paging Columbus). She is the author of Cadence (winner of the 2016 Ohio Chapbook Prize from the Wick Poetry Center), In the Kettle, the Shriek (Gold Wake Press), and series Co-Editor of New Poetry from the Midwest (New American Press). Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, 32 Poems, Vela, The Journal, and Poetry Daily. You can visit her online at The Storialist (

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