Courtney Hilden, Dragging The Moon Part II

Courtney Hilden is an Assistant Editor at Profane. Her work has appeared in Autostraddle, Fry Havoc, and The Mary Sue, among others. 

If you missed Part I, read it here.

The Floor is Lava

I could say
it ribbingly, but sometimes
I imagine hope when it
gets hawkward, that the ground would turn
and swallow me whole.  Ideally like
there’s a miniscule
vacuum locked underneath
a crack in the ground, but I’ll happily
sink into scalding
quicksand if
I must.

Long-Distance Relationship

I would like to be
there, to come out
of the rural
dark to the door, and take
ourselves to bed.  Like the stitches

abandoned by the fireside, we can surrender
these issues, temporarily, because mostly we
both sleep alone, nine thousand
miles apart, neither of us

real to the other anymore, just the person who sits
with us at the edge
of dreams, and lumbers up, reluctantly, to walk
us through those hazy visions, so exhausted neither
of us noticing we’re tired because we’re dragging
the moon behind.

On Uncertainty (Standard Deviation)

Any sense-
respecting graph has bars
that measure how
more or less we can be
and when I trace those vertical
lines I think this
is you, measured-out, based
on observation.  But there is not the usual
satisfaction in that, though I know I don’t
have a choice but to accept my best
educated guess.  With devices that can

get to the closest
micrometer, one day we might
be able to say how
many atoms, but for now taking

your measurement means I must
look twice and cut once, the opposite
of what you did to me.  And still, I have

faith that one day you’ll be named in
Greek or Latin, catalogued like a butterfly
pined to a sealed
drawer, a destiny approved
by a board of colleagues.

Sometimes, Even if You Are Worshipping the Same Unforgiving God, the Answer Will Differ

For me, writing was like dating
a Ferris wheel of darlings, but

your father despaired over
finding words that would behave
better than kindergarteners, refusing
to grab hold of the string designed to keep
them in line.  I think he found it

hard to commit to only a handful, while on
the other hand, I could count Six one five two four three
out on a walk, at a hard-scrubbed table
in the library, during a shower, though I

too, struggled to meet the finish
line: two four six five three one.

Do you ever wonder if we could swing
around again and find each
other at the end?

Every time I stand in this foyer to pick
you up for my court-mandated weekend.

High Hopes

And I had dreamed we would be each other’s
everything, warming
our lungs as steadily as weaving
machines.  Instead, I watched

the children spread
your ashes with bare fingers.  None of the other
adults seemed to realize they licked

your remains
from their digits like you were ice
cream, melted and sticky.  I imagined your assumption/
their consumption would turn out to be more like

a leeching
penny thinning their stomach
acid, causing tomorrow’s sore
tummies.

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