Hannah Gamble



At the Casa Grande disco, men hold on
to other men’s behinds, and women
hold on to men’s behinds,
and everyone is holding on
to what it means to be dancing
and holding on, and I am there
too, doing the two things
I am always doing:
holding on, and drinking enough
water so that tomorrow I’ll be able
to document all the things humans do
to endear themselves to me, conscious
of how dancing means that the music
will bring them closer,
and take them farther away.



A prayer for Mirta
              who buys Church’s Chicken for dinner
and thus shows she has given up on life. 

A prayer for Mirta who believes 
              that I am a thief
              and sets her Tupperware on the table
to count them.

              In all of Mirta’s stories, 
                            life is unkind 
              and television is horrible. 	

              In all of Mirta’s stories,
                            someone denies her basic worth,
              and she considers 
                            making a counterpoint.

Beside a bureau of porcelain eggs, 
              Mirta is watching television, 
and I am watching Mirta. 

Mirta whose husband 
beat her teeth into a row of pomegranate seeds.

Mirta alone on a Saturday.

Mirta whose children prefer their father.

Goddamn it. 

For most of us, death is the first time 
              our friends will lift us up
and carry us on their shoulders.


HANNAH GAMBLE is the author of Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast, selected by Bernadette Mayer for the 2011 National Poetry Series and to be published by Fence in November, 2012. Her poems and interviews appear or are forthcoming in APR, jubilat, Forklift Ohio, Indiana Review, Ecotone, and elsewhere. She teaches English at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and lives in Chicago.


Read more work by Hannah Gamble:

Ink Node
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