To Entitlement, from my Sneakers:
You are the reason we get so much
You blame it on our duct tape
lazy and creased as the russet skin of
day labor, bodega coffee cup seeping
yesterday's thunderstorm so every step
feels like preschool.
We still march against cadence -
Burn twelve hour days into
bus shelter sawdust, weight-shift
stridor from a tread-carpetted Tigris
as skeletons chatter the empty seats.
They ache a cork bottled bassline.
We shuffle cataracts over your
checkerboard bistro snaps and
pay your tip with the greasy slot
quarters we hide under our tongues.
This is our bald apology for you.
The road from Lebanon ices into April
It snakes through hips granite as the barren
Mists that robe them, averts its glance from
The cachexia of oak sapling brothels and
Ghostwrites the solitude of pieced glass
Midnights onto the snow-shook faces of its
CB radio static hangs over bluegrass lullabies like
Menthol steeped button-downs silhouette
Vinyl seat backs
They grasp our skin like the humiliation we blow
Sulfur ash into walls of rain
We were the children Radio Flyers were crafted for
The composers of battle hymn harmonies into
Linoleum floor dust
And when we grew up, we saddled these rigs
With the abandon of our fathers.
In the cathedral glow of roadside diner portholes
Tin pot coffee pours thick as the inebriated lipstick
Of chipped tooth shipwreck smiles
The past hundred miles of yellow diamond dead ends
Converge here like diesel fingerprinted sugar packets
Sardined into chrome-plated caddies
And the buzz roll of pancake batter sizzle punctuated
By a flipper on griddle hi-hat
But the night air famished-gripping the windowpane is
Agnostic in its deliverance.
Graying choirboys playing Winston machine lever
Rocketship will never settle into heliocentric orbits
Dragged down by the ill-fitting insomnia dripping
Oceanic grit from the slow motion second hands of
Half-faced wall clocks
We hold integrity whiplashed in molded plastic
Gift shop snow globes
We love craters into moonbeams and
White-knuckle laminated menus into telescopes
As if hope's only remnant spilled out onto their pages.
These are our miscarriages -
Groaning clots from beneath our 1/8-inch treads
Splayed spread-eagle as justice, grill marked for
High noon's buzzard cloud
Clawing silence over our tomorrows
Cobras fibrillating white noise as we freeband
This tear-stained highway
We count sodium streetlight rachitic rosaries
Our pirates' gold
And chase the death rattle corrugated as
Unhinged guardrails onto night's exiled shadow.
Until we run out of road
And the kicked up gravel licks at our heels.
Love Letter to the Sidewalk
I've followed you for miles -
your shoulders flexed against the shimmered heat of
Indian summer and the lick of runner's treads -
you've never understood the temporary:
the outgrown laughter of thornapple berries
as they spatter over your crevices;
the steeplechased ides of autumn, leaning into its furl.
We tattoo our names onto your innocence
because scars are all we know of immortality.
You hold our transience with an open palm.
find you the way streetlamp whiskey seeps
between the vinyl shade and chipping
window frame of my subterranean Fenway
apartment, the way I always seem to sidestep
back into the soft spot of alone.
Your stoicism may be all kiln-shard and husk,
the freckle of raindrops that dare baptize it raw,
but those of us quarry-born know never to
trust the calm of surface waters or the fracture
of daybreak off their back.
So I run my finger along your 5 o'clock
shadow, listen to the cabasa hiss of crabgrass
in between your syllables, and I wait for you
to find me.
A fraternity spray paints hashmarks
on the east side of the Mass Ave Bridge.
I count them on these wandering nights
that roll vein under bristling memory of skin.
We all eventually bend blue note and hangdog
toward the backhoe's grasp, knowing no other caress
still longs the inconvenience of our imprint.
The Charles will sing its Irish ballads until morning,
and you fold them under your flagstones with
every confession my eyes have ever whispered,
with all the rapture you have scraped from my heels.
You hear me when the world holds Sahara to its ears
so I give you this last breath.
You will hold it with an open palm.
A native of Washington, D.C., Hannah Galvin completed her medical training in Boston and most recently settled in Lawrence, MA, where she works as a pediatrician when she is not writing. Her poetry, like her clinical work, brings awareness to the perspective of the abused and the underserved. Hannah discovered the slam poetry scene in 2009, and quickly became known for her rich, layered imagery and raw emotion. Besides Amethyst Arsenic, her work has been accepted for publication in the Beloit Poetry Journal, and her first chapbook was released in 2011. She regularly reads at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge, and has featured throughout New England.