Poems by Dianna Henning

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In the Drawing-Near Time

by Dianna Henning

From Canary Fall 2014

Dianna lives in the Honey-Eagle Lakes Watershed, which is bordered by the Skedaddle Mountains. Because of California's drought, the Skedaddles are no longer mirrored in Honey Lake.

The deer have been down to the graveyard to check
       on the dead.
They can’t help their wistful watch. This time they brought
       along their young.

Each deer is always last year’s fawn. No telling them apart.
or not. When I walk my dog and the struck doe beside the
       road reeks

of death, my malamute fights her leash to rip free, and the
       turkey buzzards,
like hunched priests, line the telephone-poles to wait for
       us to pass.

I think of the graves the deer frequent—hedges, rose
       bushes tastier
than bitter-brush. Already, it makes me cold to think of winter’s impending arrival;

how Pine Street slick with ice and snow buries the visible,
while the stationary flight of memory’s ripe birds take wing, fly south.

The Holiness of Potatoes

by Dianna Henning

From Canary Summer 2010

While I count my potatoes’ worth,
calculate how much they’ll yield the village,
they widen their space against silence.

Do they push with the walls of their skins
against the unknown? Do they peel back
their desires? Today, I grabbed a wheel-

barrow to cart them inside, bent at the tub,
rinsed their pretty heads, a scrub brush
in hand. When I wash something else,

do I also cleanse myself? Who flaunts
the fluency of growth, the way it conquers
and divides? I too have known moments

inside earth where each birth was promise
of something else. Didn’t I once sleep
as my potatoes slept, mute at the breast of depth?

There have been potatoes I’ve sometimes favored
more than people. Because of their faithful journey
in the dark, their absolute adherence to mystery.

Even the earth-worm knows the richness
of tubers cloaked in their drab burqas,
how all things wrap into something for comfort.

Originally published in the The Seattle Review, 2006

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