THERMOS 10: Two Poems by Hunter Deely

Here are some more poems from a special issue of THERMOS featuring Hunter Deely’s poetry. You can check back every couple days in the coming month for more of his poetry. For an introduction, see here.

Three Hill Country Poems

1. human it hurts

Easy to get
      lost in
rooms and edges
both within
and out, in
      to chambers
back the skull.
The slouch beast,
the beautiful girl.

      up from treeline
a deer’s scream so human it hurts.

2. Hunt, Texas, November, 2011

Rivers all across the state have run

dry these past months
as down across
      their pale

bones we walk, hand
      in hand

snakeskin, shells,
cracked beaks of waterbirds

highways, farm roads,
veins in an old hand
      as over
these lines we seek
the map in the edge
of the cypress leaf.

Splays the valley
      around us.
From a white
      branch a cactus
grows above the riverbed

with its white
needle you cut in my earlobes
      a hole.

3. wax-winged

layers between
my body and the cedar waxwings perched
      by the window to rest
on their way to Mexico over endless
fields and the covered
heads of migrant workers
and wanderers with long
beards, heavy packs
      on the shoulder
of highway, like Icarus
birds and travellers
      exhilarated, evoked
and disabused
of the notion, the bright
lights of the city always
more beautiful from far away, the dream
as it recedes
down to the borders
      and the blank space
in between.

blue hole

this is where it begins
uprisen from limestone
something beyond us pushing
into the light glint under elms

when i came back raw
from the hospital and focused
all the sensation i had discovered
within my body on the sting
of the fall air on my muscles
and i shook like the surface of the pool
you led me down a course of sand

and how badly i wanted
to put my arm around your waist then
as we stepped across the great
cavern there beneath us
trembling with the force of
what it contained

and we stopped and took a breath
before you told me this
was the tree they planted for your mother
at the headwaters

and how water is a kind of marrow
and we are the bone

and how cancer makes you wonder
why the inverse is contained
already in the expression

like here where the aquifer
opens to a city
covered over with a paper moon
atop an emptiness you know
is there but never think of

you know
they found the skeleton of a buffalo
right there
at the foot of that mulberry
waiting to drink
from the center of the incarnate word


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