Once I Was a Thimble but Now I Am a Bell

Erin Adair-Hodges

What are the words for how I feel today?
Beer can in the drainage ditch,
a litter of smittens, sunburned slash
where no arms could reach.
The morning wears last night’s mascara,
and I can be anything I want—
happy. Guilty. A certain kind of free,
as if the day is a car to which I have
keys. As if there is a road.
But I am February’s bone,
its marbled mate, de-leafed and
trembling. I was made in the image
of an image, grown hazy in translation
and a little bit of a lie. The good news
is that someday I may learn my lesson, but
the blood I make isn’t a reminder
nor is it the sin. It is the clanging—
not the hunger
but the promise of hunger to come. 


Erin Adair-Hodges is the 2016 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize winner for Let’s All Die Happy, to be published as part of the Pitt Poetry Series in fall 2017. A Bread Loaf-Rona Jaffe Foundation scholar in poetry and winner of the 2014 Loraine Williams Prize from The Georgia Review, her work can be seen in journals such as Kenyon Review, Boulevard, and more. She teaches writing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she co-curates the Bad Mouth Reading Series.


Photo via Flickr Creative Commons