This Year; One Day Put the Money Back, Next Day Borrow it Again; Finding the Fox Skeleton


By Hannah Craig

This Year

this year tried to grow the right
heirloom, off-center
a mistake

in the root system
fawn lilies & toothwort
tried to fail

at bounded beds at hedge-hearth
at feeding & pruning

let everything go
everything go

but it is as the world remembered

opened its purple eye
tulips came anyway
the iris too
birds feasting
with their beautiful beaks

to say i swallowed it
is melodrama
but the pollen coursed

on the river of breath
the spider thread
in my chest

and what grows here
a spongy moss, cuneiform

purling its weak-kneed hooks
into me into me
this year tried not to care


this looks like joy
you joke


soap the backs
of your hands
six seven

seconds, scald
this looks like
how you clean yourself

after a man tells you
after a whisper
puts you in hell

go back there
bite harder
this looks like deliverance

now you get
to tell your story
o wait no

One Day Put the Money Back, Next Day Borrow it Again

Storm last night stripped the maples / as if they were women / did not ask / as if they were / well, you found a five dollar bill under the nightstand / the fog blur / like a green cataract / this form of coaxing I cannot understand / touching-but-not-touching / an animal loose in our throats / scrabbling in us both / pay now pay later / never wanted to live next door to the landlord, didn’t want him coming in / to see how things were going / the broken light hanging from the ceiling, a jagged bowl of ceramic & the pale belly of exposed light bulb / well it looked like a definition / the way we could live if we were human / and another, another way, a better / water softener, a better matchstick / a way we could live if we were healthy / if we never needed the urgent care / or the urge to kick the house down / it would fall / in rhythm with a bigger disaster.

Finding the Fox Skeleton

Quicklime, ink, & charcoal,
the day's lines sink & dry.

I can't mourn for your dead, not the way
you mourn not that

anything we mourn is contained
in a closed loop.

The rain puffs out its sleeves & feathers.
If you want to keep control

hold the inside loop of your voice
hold it until the rain saturates the ragged hillside

the sidewalk broken, grooved, yearling birches
fallen, moving the bridge away.

Maybe we saw the dead early
& our lives stayed that way.

Still sometimes the body.
Sometimes lying down.

The flat obligation.
To talk with iron lips & jaws but cotton teeth.

To blaspheme in a world of walls, you
don't need to build a bridge, just cross one.


Hannah Craig lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the author of This History that Just Happened (Parlor Press, 2017). Her work has recently appeared in journals like Copper Nickel, Occulum, Mississippi Review, and the New England Review of Books.