Danielle Hanson – Four Poems

As He Is Reading a Letter From Her

The precise hour after sunset when
the shadows have not yet completed their
slow coil around the clear presence of things.


Has the world fallen over all its words
Or have we fallen over the edge of our words’ world?
Another glorious night is being born out of the wreckage–
The crash and burn of the sun. The time of small lights is upon us.
St. Elmo’s fires play soccer in the field of distant thoughts.
They form ignition for longing.
Let me fuse with distant skin.
The skin over the aura of the earth.


She always leaves a bite of her dinner for her guardian angel. That’s her mistake. One day he comes. He eats the bite. He doesn’t stop. He eats the plate. He eats the table. He eats air one vapor at a time, starting with the water. It’s suddenly a desert in her mind. He doesn’t stop.

Her legs spread like wings, like she can’t control them. The fur of her body becomes feathers. She is not an angel, she is a bird flying in this vacuum, being flown, being flung backwards, air ripped apart by wind.

This bird is a mailbox

At least, pretends to be.
She sits for hours every day
at the edge of the road
with her mouth open
waiting to devour
the words of the world.
She is oracle in the form of hardware.

Love Song

The cat of you has been stalking my eyes all morning,
As startling as waking up on the other side of night
Without Cerebus still at your throat.
Would you believe, after all this, that I love you—
Oh, all is lost!
The way a glass melts to your hand while I watch,
The sun going down in a bottle,
Like the way your bare skin shines in moonlight
While the stars take flight overhead.
Your touch is the door that opens everything,
A door to a constantly shifting sea,
The river is wearing galoshes.
I’ve been learning a lost language
By listening to your thoughts.
But when I look for my lips, I must look to your mouth.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty is a quality that draws a viewer in, whether that viewer is seeing or reading. It is a visual quality for me (whether created in the mind or physically viewed). There has to be a connection, a hook. It could be eyes, certainly; they are powerful lures. It could also be an oddity—shimmer or color or shadowy depth. It should certainly surprise.


Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Her book Ambushing Water is forthcoming from Brick Road Poetry Press. Her work has appeared in  Hubbub, Iodine, Rosebud, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird. She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books. She has edited Loose Change Magazine and Hayden’s Ferry Review, worked for The Meacham Writers’ Conference, and been a resident at The Hambidge Center.