My Death

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.

Continue reading → My Death

Yet Another Plum

by Janet Hanna

Someone had eaten the red plums.
Carefully, they had piled the skins
On the edge of the plate
And cleaned the seeds.
Some of the juice still clung
To the white plate
Like small, precious spots
Of dark guilt.
The blade of the knife
Had been wiped clean,
And was lying
On the other side of the table
As though trying to separate
The responsibility for its carnage
From its pleasure.
I cleaned the plate
And washed its soiled darkness,
But I didn’t touch the knife.
By Spring, its blade had rusted
And turned the color
Of yet another red plum.


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.

Continue reading → Waiting

Scar Tissue

by Janet Hanna

I don’t want to talk about the bruises.
I don’t want to talk about the wounds.
I want to talk about the scar tissue,
the angry, dark red, thin lines
that go deep,

Continue reading → Scar Tissue

The Stranger

by Janet Hanna

As you stepped from the train,
your dress billowed out
in the underdraft
Your arms were bare
and white
against the dark
background of the coach

Continue reading → The Stranger

Falling Off the Cliff

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.

Continue reading → Falling Off the Cliff

The Pomegranate

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.

Continue reading → The Pomegranate