Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Warning

A Warning

When you end up shipwrecked
on what must be an island,

ocean gnawing at every edge
of the ground, you’ll do what stories

have told you to do: white shells
or fire spelling out HELP to the sky,

look for a cave or build a shelter,
strew some vines to make the place

yours, locate water, crack open
hard-shelled fruit, speak to the trees

and yell your name. You did everything
right, and the other boats might come

to fetch you, take you home, return
you to your family. But at night,

you’ll know how the island
came back with you, ocean pouring

out of cabinets, the oven, the closet,
the windows, the vine-littered cave

that comes to you in any darkness,
and because you know you’ll never

go back there, you’ll dream of seeing
the island just once more so you can

get the green in your head just right,
the slope of that cliff, the strength

of those vines as you pulled them
down, like they were pulling you up.


  1. Oh, I like this. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so they say. And when you look into the pot of vines, they look back at you

  2. Exquisite. The island always comes back with us, doesn't it? Your poem brought this essay to mind:

  3. Wow! This poem is gripping, Hannah. Great pace and rhythm and powerful opening stanzas.

  4. Thank you for this comments, everyone.

    Audrey, your link is wonderful!! Thank you for sharing this...

  5. it's often difficult to comment on your poetry, hannah. i sit for a moment and try to think why. it's an odd situation. the poems are absolutely complete. i wonder if they need us at all.

    your poem - who creates reality and how is it created? nothing is as linear as it might have seemed.



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