Two Poems by Nathaniel Hunt


There are memories
that can’t be remembered
just as there is a night
where it is too dim to open eyes in.

But here and there
men and women
go about finding out
what roses smell like after dark.

Glass Postcards; Or, “How Have You Been Doing Lately?”

And I thought I could be a caretaker of plants—
there is something about the way I stand in sun
that creates darkness from light.
The old dogs lie heavily now,
waiting. They sleep so low I can’t hear.

Most of us won’t survive this life.
We end up bedridden by a crippling joy,
or worse.
Last night someone I knew
slit her wrists and tried to die.


There was a bull snake trapped in plastic netting.
Almost suffocated.
My scissors tore into his skin to cut him free,
and I got him out, but even then
the snake lunged for my hand.

Instinct to kill
the one who keeps him trapped here.


There is a bloodless solace
in being miles away from another human being.
There is a battle being lost
somewhere, so I chose the word retreat.

Is the night I feel coming on
a gift, a conquest, or a quarantine?


Green and gold—
I pluck an oak leaf, decide
to mail it to you.

Sometimes we can’t do better
than an oak leaf between us.


My arms around the dawn and its slow-motion seizure.
No one’s heard if she survived the night.
I wish I could write to you with closure,
some inescapable grace or insight,

but I’m more empty than the turkey blathering
in the trees behind the pasture.
Dear god, is that some kind of joke?
All this laughter just makes me sick.


The barn swallows flying low in early light
above the garden hoses.
Plastic coils to nourish life;
synthetic veins and tied down in a hospital bed.
Some of us are a day older.
Hound dogs howling at the morning moon.

Profile: Nathaniel Hunt

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