The Boiler

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick

FRANCINE BUYS BLEACH IN BULK WHEN A HEART BREAKS

Francine cleans more often when holes begin to open. Always the brush against
bone because I’m alone. I’m alone, she writes, holes bump beaks until people see my
bruises bloom. Francine cleans the kitchen counter with her tongue. My body opens
and I have to, she writes, be useful. Francine cleans. Everything, mouthful holes.
Francine only cleans the bones that show. This I know, she writes, he stole
something.

EVERYONE’S TRYING TO BE EVERYONE/I’M TRYING TO WALK INTO WINDOWS

I am trying to walk into my own heart.
There are doors. I find my lover there,
Asleep. I try to wake him. The ship’s
Arriving. I make tea, talk to the cat,
Ask the tree outside the window
If it feels like a tree. It is a tree.
I don’t feel like an I. For a moment
I am aware I will die. I want to
Find my lover’s heart. He’s asleep.
The ship’s gone. The cat is hungry.

I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER MY SUBCONSCIOUS SO I GOOGLE FACTS ABOUT WHALES

Well, hwael, whales used to live in me
Until they grew tired of fathers. They grew
Tired of digging wells. Hwael, I’m turning
into my mother, I said, into a tree. I will
Dig a well until I find the root. What links
the sea to a whale. A brain can break
Even in water. I’m turning into my mother.
Hwael, I’m tired of digging. Whales
Grow tired of swimming into trees. Often
Fathers throw their roots, their mothers
Pearls into the sea, throats and letters
Swim into me, hwael, I used to live
On land. Mothers eat their daughters
Sometimes in the sea. Like coral. Hearts dig
Into the root of things. There are mothers
Everywhere on picnics, fucking fathers. Well,
Whale, where were we before mothers,
fathers, digging roots out of the sea.

___________________________

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2010. She recently completed her first full-length manuscript of essays and poetry and has a chapbook in print and one forthcoming with Mouthfeel Press. She is the resident poet for Port Yonder Press’ online magazine Beyondaries and her work has been featured or is upcoming in 3:AM Magazine, Night Train, Versal, Sugar House Review, among others. She writes in the deserts of West Texas.