Hannah Loeb

THE YEAR

I think I signed a contract to this dark. Parked

a car at the spring’s edge and prayed

true to it. Blue bed, white toilet seat.

I had a student write that winter wasted her.

Her mind a pillow of pronouns I gripped so hard

it inflated with a pop. A Pontiac

that I was driving wrong. The plop of soap

as the book on tape ends again, foam running white

where water later throngs. Cold armistice of May

which met me at the edge of her first song

wove of itself a longer year than I

would ever want. If I was wrong

to wrestle an obedience from the tube

of melted chapstick, mangled pink sand castle

where lotion should have been, and put the thing

I’d molded to my lip, then I was wrong

to claim I’d wring of any year a song.

It’s summer now, three cuts over James’s eye

as peanut butter slits my ice cream bar,

his skin a sweetly rusting sauna sky,

the white dog hacking algae in the yard,

the breakfast tray stained red with moldy berries,

and a pair of parakeet-shaped salad tongs:

the year rips in from on. The light lifts late

across the rental pond, withholding dark

from dark and lifting currants into season,

raising a pearl of harder water from

the furrow winter frowned into the yard.

The year was nothing; we did fuck a lot

but not enough for him. I have been taught

to bear the autumn toward him in my arms

Hannah Loeb is a poet and teacher who lives in Bellevue, Idaho. She earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2015, and her work has appeared in Prodigal, Ninth Letter, American Chordata, and Sequestrum.

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