Three Poems by Alyssa Hanna
Updated: May 7, 2019
the night you tried to romance me by turning me into a dried butterfly
this is the first time i’ve ever spoken
about you, and it will always be the last
because this, at least, i remember.
i couldn’t say if you were a before or an after
but i still shiver those fingers. that chest.
the lean muscles pressing me on dirty sheets
assuring me my desires were waterfalls, apparent and yours.
sloppy. back-alley whiskey kisses; your teeth
never knew how to yield to your tongue.
i will never know what possessed me
the nights you smiled, but i recall being
pinned, my mouth open but trying to close,
the words you’re taking advantage of me leaving
my lips only for you to swallow them whole,
taste your fingers before sliding through lace—
maybe, but it’s not like you’re doing your best
to fight back.
the science of skinned knees
the pickling fluid i keep is not
for preserving biological specimens that have died
of natural causes
but for the ache found beneath
hiding my knees because i know they will ask questions
vitamin e is good for scars but it is not
a replacement for
or not getting a wound in the first place
in which i wonder if my father prefers shaken over stirred
what is the preference of my father?
wine makes me sick and tequila makes me faint
they say we are born bloodless
that the empty veins need
to be filled with a family’s tradition
in its own liquid form
a testament or sacrament
bottled and fermented in the basement of a cathedral
i picture him an italian catholic
crossing himself twice a year
maybe one extra time when aries season
comes along with its wind
when it comes with nails stuck in wrists
pinned to the memory of a birth in a blizzard
an april that brought no showers or flowers
except maybe the showers of placenta and
the cracked skin of
an absent father
an artery full of vodka
but aorta full of pulse
alyssa hanna's poems have appeared in Reed Magazine, The Mid-American Review, The Naugatuck River Review, Rust + Moth, Pidgeonholes, and others. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a finalist in the 2017 James Wright Poetry Competition, and a semi-finalist for The Hellebore scholarship. alyssa is a Contributing Editor at Barren Magazine and an aquarium technician in Westchester, living with her four weird lizards. follow her @alyssawaking on twitter, instagram, ko-fi, tumblr, and patreon.