The Boiler

Hannah Lee Jones

DAUGHTER OF CAIN

As sons and songs go some precede
                     the others like a major chord,

                     barbed as they are with the mercies
of an inheritance. The winter I lost my skin

to my cousins in a cedar hollow, my father’s spade
                      silver in my ear, a wolf’s head

                      found me in a field of downed
hemlock, took my left hand

when I couldn’t reunite it with its body.
                      I know it seems like surrender

                      that I knelt to its wake.
It would seem like surrender that I gave my right

hand to its cold flame as it swept the meadows
                      like a thin hunter.

                      It was nothing. Except it was silver.
It steals through the blood when the north wind

returns to claim what I lack, and I kneel once more.
                      I kneel once more:

                      heaven knows what hell
moved his offering to another war.

Trees stopped crying as they were cut
                       and whispered as they fell –

                       here into the drawn breath
of another morning, once-phantom moons

sprouting from the old stumps like a second coming,
                        surely a god somewhere.

                        O god somewhere: find me
in some bramble among the crows, sealed in prayer.

Find me in these woods
                         where we die and rise again.

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Hannah Lee Jones’s poetry and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Superstition Review, Literary Orphans, Apogee, Yes Poetry, decomP, Cider Press Review, and Orion. She edits Primal School, a resource for poets pursuing their craft without an MFA, and lives on Whidbey Island in northwest Washington.