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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