Five Poems by Hannah Peck

*
We tore open
like tearing tongues from heads
like cracking knowledge
against walls
the shards falling like snow
like knives swimming in hair
scalps singing blood
faces slick
we huddled down and
touched breasts together
knowing better
than to wipe away
you would have licked it
from my skin
if you could have.

We opened large
like mouths and eyes
and arms you never close
like my father’s construction site craters
and my mother’s past
like your lover’s car doors
and your CSIS file
like hearts stiff
with scar tissue
and pumping anyway.


*
Your cups were in my dream again
the tiny ones
the ones that don’t fit anything
not soup
not tea
we couldn’t even see them
but you told me all the time
they were expansive
like I don’t know
the difference
between gigantic
and nothing
you made my brain
eat itself
in my dream
again last night
made it swallow
air until
there was only air to swallow.


*
I grew up on construction sites
with gypsum and pink insulation
loud men who bit dogs back
carved me slingshots
and went to jail wearing t-shirts
that read “hump me.”

My father chipped his tooth one day
on the back of a hammer
took a picture to remember
had it fixed that afternoon
used a pager and drove a Jeep.

My brother broke the windshield with a kick
stained the ceiling with Slushie
ate all the gum in the glove compartment
melted the dashboard
with the cigarette lighter
honked the horn.

I crawled through sand
around foundations
slid along yellow fiberglass
watched my father smoke pot
in a hole in the earth
climbed ladders and walked
on the skeletons of homes
helped my brother destroy the car.


*
My whole brain could fit onto this stamp
shrivelling into a walnut shell
crispy
I could mail it to you
wrapped in plastic and kisses
or toss it at you
from across the yard, under a tree
you could crumple it
put it in a nostril
crunch it to sand with your teeth
swallow it whole, whatever.


*
Stepping off the streetcar
I can smell the lake
fish and shit and damp
a city’s old bath water
Toronto’s midnight stew
milky streetlight reflections
on surface tension
as good as stars
as good as beauty.


Profile: Hannah Peck

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