Jeff Handy


       “Things take the time they take”
                        -Mary Oliver

About which, yeah, one could wrap up a discussion with a mere like “Duh.”
But or consider: the charitable interpretation: things take the time they take

as in with hands. As in time is siphoned by the mouths of things, reed-sucked
from swollen bodies. The bodies are up for discussion, but now we’ve defined it.

Close a door behind a cat and the cat will reach under. A panicked movement
suggests the room is filling with gas. Tufts of carpet are clawed up, seal further

the room, the gas, the body. The cat’s ear is flush to the ground
like a scout troop predicting a train, but we don’t hear so much

as vibrate. The world with an ear to it is a map of the world,
non-axial, non-spheroid. Instructions, then, for when a hand appears

outlined or pale, stelliform under the door:
let the movement play out, and be taken.


This morning I researched whether moss grows
only on the northern side of trees and stones,
and it turns out mostly to be true.
In the northern hemisphere there is more shade
on objects’ northern side; in the southern hemisphere
shade gathers to the south. Reason being: moss will dry out
in too much sun and so prefers the shade.
Which makes some disappointing sense
for someone hoping to start a day debunking
things he never questioned. Like my grandmother
who preferred I walk a certain direction
through the woods in case I got lost.
Like how I obeyed her wish.
Like some things: mostly true.


Jeff Handy’s poetry has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Anthropoid, Bird’s Thumb, Cartridge Lit, Gandy Dancer, The Mojave River Review, SOFTBLOW, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. He is a Poetry Editor at DIALOGIST and a particularly sweaty resident of Austin, TX. You can find him on Twitter @j3ffhandy.