Andrew Hanson

The Drink

The boat skims out of the cut and bracing,
stops and bobs on the sea.
My brother and I tend the gunnel
like a pub, rods hung over, plopping sotted
yellows by the school. And Dad, with a big one on,
snaps: grab the gaff, Trey. And before me,
Trey snatches the staff off top shelf
and sinks it in the sea. After a slip or two,
Dad guides his quivering grip to hook and hoist
the mack, slapping on deck. The mackerel’s fins hack
the boat and sucks air. It wriggles in
a puddle of its own blood, and Dad, stiff, shakes off
the hook from the fish’s lip, rips the barb from its liver,
and tosses that tippler in a box with the sloshy anonymous.
After the ice box is filled, Dad shoots us straight through to Haulover.
Skimming back into the inlet, the boat braves little waves
as Dad, decked in yellow wet gear, aptly navigates
back to land. Quick hook and loop,
the boat floats, roped to the dock. My brother and I pile
off the ship and ride off; we watch Dad unravel
the rope and putter off, sucking booze like air.

Thames

The city washes up
on its own shore: smooth speckles
of a broken beer bottle
are cradled by the rocks,
while each day the harsh tooth
of its shards is renewed when
the sun briefly emerges.
This same shore, a child chases
a daisy blown in from the park above,
where his parents enumerate
at the edge of a sidewalk,
and the sand salts their shoes,
but that’s not poetry. The chain
that hangs from the docks
may look like a smile, and the rats
might playfully chase one another
beneath the train tracks, but none
of it like the tracks could twist
back to an old Polish man
who holds a pocket-watch
in his palm like an apple.

For the Summer’s End

Scars are the poetry of the skin,
and the hands of Thetis dance on the Styx.
The eggs of a chicken end when breakfast begins.

A couple of words are kicked out like cans of tin
and tassels of thyme unwind behind them.
Scars are the poetry of the skin.

You trip into a bathtub the same size as sin,
and the water brims over the cracked porcelain.
The eggs of a chicken end when breakfast begins.

The white knife and chaos of the water pin
the dagger of Demosthenes on fathers long dead.
Scars are the poetry of the skin.

The bow trembles but cleaves to the violin,
and a baitfish descends on its thicker wire’s end.
Scars are the poetry of the skin;
the eggs of a chicken end when breakfast begins.

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