Josh Hanson is a graduate of the University of Montana Writing Program
and currently lives in Missoula, Montana with his wife and two daughters.
Recently, his manuscript was named first runner-up in the Anabiosis Press
Chapbook Contest, and his work has also appeared, or is forthcoming, in
Diagram, 42Opus, Plainsongs, Stirring, Three Candles, Rock Salt Plum,
Ginbender, Megaera, and others.
This is the road north.
This is the hill, road-split,
Sloughing the steep grade down,
Laid fine upon the riverbottom.
This is the spirit money
Burning along the shoulder,
Yellow grass fingered up from gravel.
This is the traveling ache
Rising to the throat, the mist
Wetting the road with its noise,
Open as your mouth when first
I leaned in, breath smoking.
This is the smoke, the black-tar heart,
The root-crazed road, the way.
Wet morning, light halved by damp,
I'm walking fifth, sheltered by storefronts,
Cheap side-tables, beds and brass lamps.
The Meter-maid, window shopping, or else
Stretching her white neck. On the steps
Of the post office, where I'm set, there:
They've thrown sand where someone was sick.
I have danced the convict's slow
Dance through library stacks,
Knuckled the spines toward release,
Some volume of words pressed
Smooth against my shirt-front.
There is violence, yes, volume
Measured by displacement, words,
Which are empty, fill rapidly
The space between bodies, the I
And you ought be sexed enough
To people the poem, if only
With words, released into the new
World: fallen and founded now
In lines, not borders, delimiting
This space we've come to fill.
The Second Person
Cleft from my side and carved
Of bone, you're still my mouth talking.
We'll call it love, this transparency
Of narrative: say you ran from me,
Took halting waterfront roads, skirted
Fenced lots of dry things, entered
The rustyards and laid down there
Amongst the hulks of metal and clod:
Look up, and I'm there, caught
Waving from the barbed wire: a tongue
Of cloth, your tongue and my own,
Wagging out a story of flight
That is its own small confession.
Lie there a while, love, where the cricket
Flies: be still: the wind is a febrile wave,
And my limbs have gone light with running.
Back to Front.