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TWO POEMS

April 1, 2022

by Ceridwen Hall

 

ATTENDANCE

every year is happening now, again—
an echo—or on the next page: under the shadow
of your hand, looms scaffolding for the wing
we’ll occupy, the rooms we’ll have run from, soon,
recently—all the numbered blocks are piled, toppling,
today, and later, but I am getting ahead of ourselves,
looking back like this, at the blueprint of a hallway
outside the geometry classroom, a wall we could lean
against to read history, and take notes, recording facts
someone else remembered for us—by autocorrect
you write Lincoln’s assignation; I change your spelling
and wonder if we’re just a series of helixes doubling
particular glitches while toy parachutes are thrown
around our scattered alphabet towers—sometimes
we bruise our feet stepping on them; we’ll trip
over them, probably, once we’re old, and break
things, but now is also earlier, unfolding from when
a teacher presses play on a cassette tape—rewound
each recess—and we know we’re supposed to put
everything up before we leave, before we buy phones
and earbuds and watch kids dig in a sandbox we’ll walk
by on our way to classes we passed, already long-ago,
but to which we keep returning in this collapsed
economy of seasons—as trees grow into fences
and new windows surround us.

 

POEM CONCEALED AS DEAD DROP

What you can’t say and can’t keep

from saying, must be planted


in a hollow brick, rendered

brief and sewn in the body


of a freeze-dried rat; left

under a lamppost. Any truth


made small enough can hide

in plain sight, can bide its time.


Count your steps or follow

the map written by memory. There.


Now. Here. Any tree will do

for leaving behind a self,


collecting a ghost. They’ve pumped

smoke from the burned house, rebuilt


the library downhill. The mind

is fond of circles, like most animals,


so you might be following the tail

you are trying to lose. Spying


is easier now; everything is digital

—any stone can conceal a signal


waiting to download evidence or send

new orders. Safe encryption, though,


is harder. You can’t even blink,

the analyst says. The poem knows,


but unfolds—see the daffodils, the finches

—like any other any other walk.

 

CERIDWEN HALL

Ceridwen Hall is a poet and book coach. She holds a PhD from the University of Utah and is the author of two chapbooks: Automotive (Finishing Line Press) and Excursions (Train Wreck Press). Her work has appeared in TriQuarterly, Pembroke Magazine, Tar River Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, and other journals. You can find her at www.ceridwenhall.com.