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hanae jonas




Not love but procedure
I mimic
No, the stranger here will never be
love     But how

to open the daily curtain
and pretend to be even
a little bit animal
alone     Wilderness composes

itself from a rubric:
how the absent
takes cream and sugar at eight, on Sundays
wears white     Is a path

into a hell
of rhododendrons,
shock that makes mad
honey     Poison

I pick to enchant
this barren
until the real drug croons

how every night I gamble
on the carnality
of method     of faking it til

(your ghost slides right through)




At the end of it I know
I was just practicing
for a dream. At times

the room winked and the dream
seemed sound. Always the same
dirty room, though so blank

when dreaming.
The supernatural became
an everyday friend—

In the commute, the shower,
while tripping to someone else—
Always, the dream, I practiced

when alone. Sometimes alone
while you were in me in the room.
The dream was not sex;

it was the completion of sex.
It was the cheekbone on the trunk
in the hallucinated room.

The possibilities felt astral
but were really only small.
After a spell there was just

one way things could go: down
and in. I ignored this; I practiced.
And when the center had spent itself flat,

I woke. Tell me
what prize came, what still life,
from all those glinting dry runs.




My devotion, a bad joke
pulled taut over. It’s true

I preferred the sci-fi of stars
to what was obvious down here. Flush

with the feeling of words
but no mouth to shape anything.

But who cared about that,
not the heat with its shameless hissing

at night. Its crescendo seemed to point
to something essential

but did I pick out the genuine thing? Nobody
could tell me how to do it right. Nobody

said it was outrageous I wanted
to map the vault I’d seen

in dreams. In the end
it’s all a guess,

a sharp dark friend whispered
wolfish in my ear. I came

very close to allowing this precept
which would stand the test

of syrup, of innocence.
And I was right there laughing

but couldn’t stop insisting
on the starlit murmurs, good grief,

good god—




Hanae Jonas is an MFA candidate at the University of Michigan. Her poems have appeared in Sixth Finch, DIAGRAM, Handsome, and elsewhere. She is from Vermont.