Poems by Gwen Hart


Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Pinecone

Petrified artichoke;
miniature pineapple;
flowerless bud;
raccoon’s shuttlecock;
scepter of seeds;
mosquitoes’ drinking cup;
snout of the bear
that follows you home;
Fibonacci’s dreamscape;
3-D mandala;
missile launched
by squirrel or owl;
nature’s prayer wheel
hunted by children
with sap-sticky fingers;
many-tongued mantra;
tiny Phoenix
opening its wings
in the fire.


Poem Welded Together from 47 Titles (Poem-a-Day 2019)

I used to be a roller coaster girl, a spoiled child.
My eyes have seen what my heart has felt.
The body remembers hunger, love songs,
what it’s like to have nothing to do,
to shout Now what?, letting the emptiness
become my government.


At night, five moths in the gloaming,
in the roiling night, the changing light.
I never figured out how to get free
of the lap belt, to say “I am a hummingbird,”
to be a meadowlark, be makebelieve.


Will you say a prayer severing the circle,
a prayer on joy and sorrow, on anger,
on Jakarta, January, a prayer for the youth
of Florence, Kentucky, for all
the inevitable just-about-to-break-out
sounds in the fragmentary blue?


We are all waiting for answers,
for a louder thing at the grave of the forgotten,
so many untitled names: Dear Nainai,
Dear Deliliah! I imagine each woman—I picture her lips
are copper wires; her hair is a petting zoo;
her heart is a trumpet.


Half girl, then elegy, somewhere deep in the cell,
in the mortal lease, there is a war within myself.
In the final loop-de-loop, I can see this much
and more—triple moments of light
and industry, one geography of belonging,
of color, of landscape, of tenuous rope.