Pat Hanahoe-Dosch – Three Poems


You are not
the red-leaf lettuce
growing in my garden,
nor the early blooming lily
with orange blossoms that drop
after a week into a pile of petals in the dirt;
you are the daffodils bobbing
their long-nosed yellow flowers in the wind,
lined up along the edge
of my front yard, despite the late
snowfall in early April,
despite a late frost
and the cloudy gray threat
of winter
overstaying its welcome.

The Horizon

is the dark of underwater ,
the flow below the Atlantic in the gloaming
among the push and shove of currents
and roiled, swirling bottom sand.
This is the dark of confusion,
a glimpse of a dive line whose end
disappears into the green and black
so you cannot tell which way is up or down.
You could be climbing the line further
into the depths instead of toward the surface
and waiting boat.  Any way you turn
there is not enough air
strapped to your back
to take you home
if you can’t grasp
the line
and pull
in the right direction.
Even the glow of a flashlight
is consumed by the elements here.
You inhale shards of fear
through your respirator.
Panic is a shark gnawing at your throat,
a frenzied rip and tear of who you think you are,
 where you want to go,
above or below this barrier
where you might drown unless you can turn
and find your way to the surface,
clearer reference points,
and the familiar illusion of a solid earth.
There is only you, a line, and what
you believe in strongly enough
to bring you forward and up.

What Doesn’t Kill
                                           Makes You:

a bent staple clogging the stapler
a paper flyer wet and ragged in rain
a rusted nail rotting through a plank
a cracked, fallen tombstone hidden in overgrown weeds
the weeds, nettles choking all the other plants
in a garden, a field, a forest, a lawn, a cemetery.
But not the grave. Not the rot in the coffin.
Maybe the dirt enveloping it.
Maybe the dirt hugging it close.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Poetry is the essence of beauty. The way sound, form and language all come together to create a subtle music through words while offering some kind of deep meaning that changes how we view the world in some way, no matter how small. Poetry is a form of prayer. Its music, rhythm, and power call forth more than just emotions, including, hopefully, empathy, but also awaken something deep in our subconscious. Poetry touches our spirit and moves us as only something deeply beautiful, some touch of the universe – god, goddess, muse, whatever you want to call it — can rustle both the dark and the light inside us.


Pat Hanahoe-Dosch has an MFA from the University of Arizona. Her poems have been published in Rattle, American Literary Review, The Paterson Literary Review, Confrontation, and many others. Her books of poems, Fleeing Back and The Wrack Line, are available through FutureCycle Press ( or Amazon. More at: