Aaron Hand

Years After A Water Gun Fight In Diane’s Living Room, I Return to California

I sent my mom a vintage

postcard from Los Angeles

letting her know that I was

bringing the sun back with me,

amanita red bursting through

the unnatural earth of my shirt

but I didn’t tell her that I saw

Diane in the sunburst hair of

a dying star that made Elaine

wear all black and let her eyes

linger like a growing knot in

the pit of my stomach

or that I saw her in the wind that separated around the floating wings of the Pasadena

parrots, mythologized in their

migration, gusted through the

mustard plants that burst like wildfire

on Hollywood’s hills, and

rolled on each one like a heartbeat

until she hit Idyllwild and died

down to the speed of a flatline.

I’m Not Brave

There is nothing I can say about Frank Ocean that Shayla Lawson hasn’t already said but

in our blonde years Nick’s hair faded white as Othello and he shaved two lines in his

eyebrows. I followed suit even though my eyebrows were as translucent as shimmering

stardust because that’s what brothers do when they can’t read the premonitions in fallen

follicles that would have shown how my eyebrows will crawl closer to brown each year

after Nick becomes a folded flag. And now as I count the distance between light years, I

watch as Gavin shaves his eyebrows forehead smooth after his father’s funeral because

when he looked in the mirror he saw the same gray knots spiraling out of control but I let

mine grow, each new filament that pops up in the middle blurring the line between what’s

right and wrong, and I know everything I am or ever will be is enough.

Ode to a Road Trip on Stolen Land

I plucked a butterfly

from the grill of my car

the wings folded tight

like a forgotten hardback

tucked away in a dusty thrift

store in the Christmas Valley

its blood red tips gave way

to shades of geometric orange

so out of ignorance

I called it a monarch

I called it Chief Joseph

I called it Chief Paulina

I named a lake after it

I built it a stone statue

to tell of the courage

it took to fight the wind

stare death in the headlights

and crash into my history.

Aaron Hand is a writer of poetry and nonfiction currently living in Portland, Oregon. He has previously been published in Faultline Journal, Hart House Review, Four Chambers Press, Meniscus, and a handful of Xeroxed zines. In addition to his own creative writing pursuits, Aaron volunteers his time to Portland's Submission Reading Series.

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