Two Poems | Lee Kathryn Hodge | Granta

Two Poems

Lee Kathryn Hodge

Ponderosa Mandala, Carbondale PA
For Charlie


There is no feeling like it my mother says of setting things on fire,
of manic periods, of days she cannot pass a pile of
cut grass on the curb by the neighbor’s driveway and not
wonder at the sound of its gentle drying in the air.


Charlie Turissini dies and I see the space
in between the stripes of jet fuel running across
the roof tiles of the house where I was raised.
The earth’s population has doubled since Woodstock.

Charlie dies and water condenses off future litter;
a can of Tropical Fantasy on the counter.
Blue with a beachscape as if made to
wash up on the shore; marks in blood, oil. Work.

Wind turbines turning in the Pennsylvania valley
where Charlie was born. Their motion seeming
correct the way motion seems when I need it to be;
Indifferent mechanics of the gear.


Nathan, who works on the pipeline, is divorcing
again in Florida saying she took everything.
A romantic, some things can’t be helped. His mother was pregnant
with him in the Hari Krishna commune working in the fields

her hands in the dirt. Her sons were chosen to be educated
in India as future leaders of the movement. They were plucked
from Charlie’s pool in Texas where he lived with his new wife.
He was married where he lived before he died.


Surgery for a blocked intestine my mother says
of how he died talking of mining tunnels beneath the town. He died
talking of billion year old carbon. Remind me
how the mantra begins, again.






The Aquarium in Babes of Carytown

Thanks, bitch the man says in response to the hostesses perky
have a wonderful night and thank you for coming. He is stumbling out
of the Mellow Mushroom on Cary Street and vomits immediately
on a sidewalk that rises to meet him like the closing of a pop-up book.
Goldfish swim around his head in a ring. On the TV sexy British men
in expensive suits observe things about a murder scene before talking
of their paradoxical loneliness and desire for each other.
Almost none of what they say is legible. It’s not the man or the sidewalk
that concerns me, but the pact they have made to witness their mutual humiliation.
I woke up this morning with a hickey so purple it was a hole. Opinion is polarized
regarding whether or not the actor in the program is attractive.
Reflecting on this troubles me with a stringing of longing; liquid-limbed.
It is possible that no one else need exist and had perhaps better not.
Better everyone be enamored at a safe distance with the prettier sister
while unconnected details of the case flash through my mind,
like the detective on the show. I am almost there, thinking finally of the tank.
We dab and remain unconvinced. Indeed, their mouths were closed
or had been open and silent the whole time. The main character was
dreaming the whole time, of the gold fish, or some other gleaming thing
that I will take it upon myself to avoid, deliberately. I think I can do it.
Still, it’s another question entirely to know, and a crime to describe.
Tell me now what it is that dies, gasping for another world in my hand.


Image © Ana Paula Vargas Maia

Lee Kathryn Hodge

Lee Kathryn Hodge is a writer and visual artist whose work has appeared in Thrush, Oberon, Heavy Feather Review, Heartwood, The William & Mary Review, After Hours, Euphony and The Tulane Review. She is the author of two chapbooks, Pics or It Didn’t Happen (Dancing Girl Press, 2022) and We Make Shapes From Shapes (Bent Paddle Press, 2023).

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