Poems by Kristina Hakanson

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by Kristina Hakanson

From Canary Summer 2016

Kristina hails from the headwaters of the Klamath River in southern Oregon, and recently moved to central Arizona where she enjoys living and writing among the wide species diversity of the Sonoran Desert.

I. Testing

Our lives and livelihoods depend
on chemistry with a little fallout mixed in.
We bore into the earth just to blow it
up from the inside, hiding, but the wind
makes women’s breasts atomic.
We grow tumors and lose our hair,
even men have mastectomies.
Our species has been alive a long time.
Look at the man with bionic legs,
hear the physicist speak through his machine,
keep up with the Hollywood news,
eat from Styrofoam packages (use a spork),
smell the coconut of her sculpted thighs and answer:
how do we know when we are awake?

II. Burning

We humans with our sanitized bathrooms,
our waxed legs, invisible menses, over-large
houses, drones, skin never sticking to skin.
The inescapable subconscious stockpiles
blood and kitchen compost, artillery and oil,
let us feel the exact weight of the dead kitten
carried from driveway to backyard
where the upturned earth smells new
and our mouths say “grave” while hands
place her there. When the dirt’s
back in the hole, the reptilian brain is too.
We dream of holding her, of the warmth moaning
out of her body. We can’t wake up or leave.
Not that we’re going anywhere, not that our
back muscles don’t ache under the freight of transport—
somebody has to mule the potatoes and onions
from one psychic riverbank to another, feed
our anxieties and egos, entrust our lives
to an impatient river as we learn to swim.

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