by Janet Hanna

Even now,
At the moment of my death,
I put my hand in yours,
As I have done for years,
And wait, as always,
For your strength to bolster mine.
I can hear Emily’s fly
Buzzing in my head.
It seems incongruous here
In the sterile whiteness of this room.
How odd that nothing seems to matter now.

by Janet Hanna

For what exactly am I waiting?
The grocery line to hurry
The tiny age lines around my mouth to harden
The friend who doesn’t return a call
An enemy to soften
The finality of Armageddon
My clothes to dry
Justice, perhaps, even world peace
The heat to come on
A Summer vacation
My child to be grateful
The coffee to perk.
My mother’s approval,
I used to think,
Was worth the wait.

by Janet Hanna

In the evenings,
on alternate Tuesdays,
in neat, even rows,
Old Mike would arrange the chairs,
borrowed from Greenlawn Arms,
and the townspeople would come
to watch her fall off the cliff.
Each Tuesday she would wear
a different color scarf
as a kind of cape.
But the black jumpsuit
and the ballet slippers
were always the same.

by Janet Hanna

Demeter could be demanding
In her sloe-eyed witchcraft ways,
Always threatening to dry up the spring rains
Or divert Zephirus’ warm breath.
You never knew from one year to the next
If she could be trusted to give the pomegranates juice
Or make the sap in the fig trees run.
But then her belly grew ripe
Like the oval melons she nourished,
And all the islanders wondered
What horny Olympian or rough farmer
Had placed his hands on her thighs.
There were wagers, of course.
Siphnos’ patriarchs put their entire fields of grain
Against Crete’s annual venison run
That she’d been coupled by Apollo.
On Santorini they whispered dirty jokes
And the Athenians sent an envoy to Delphi
To seek the ancient wisdom of the old woman
With dried milk on her breasts who sat chewing
Juniper berries in her steamy rock.