Poems by Shannon Hardwick


How can you stand so many

peo­ple, I ask, drunk. Shirts dirty

them­selves for the wash­ing, waiting

for a woman’s hands, he said, I’d steal

their laugh­ter, pawn it for a handgun

just to piss some­one off. I’d drink

myself into mys­ti­cal states, I’d get sick

on her doorstep for a glass

of water. I’d do this for anyone

who ever loved my sor­ry ass.



Francine dreamed a deer drug her heart across five states. It was told to eat slow­ly. Francine dreamed the dear, before get­ting there, wrapped its neck around wire. My heart was hit, she writes, by a truck­er called Grace. If I cut my arms, there’s space. Francine feels the weight of five states. If I had a farm in Mis­souri, she writes, I’d believe in destruc­tion and heal­ing. Francine believes she’ll eat the dear slow­ly and fill her heart. If not, she writes, I’ll cut my arm. I’ll buy a farm. Mar­ry a truck­er called Grace.


Riv­er 31

The snake sang on the bank
Belt­ed about being born empty

Let us fill, he said, each need
Twice. He took to swimming

Beside me because I was lonely
And asked, What do you dance for

The belt around my waist became
A riv­er. All the fish found me naked

Then I knew, bod­ies were made
To be bro­ken, loved. This song,

The snake sang, keep near
To your bel­ly. I became a wild

Dancer yet again. Keep going.
The riv­er woke. Night-birds

Hid in fear. Eggs began to appear
And I, the woman, ate in silence

Every last stone-bread
Of the buried men’s hearts.


Shan­non Eliz­a­beth Hard­wick received her Mas­ters in Fine Arts from Sarah Lawrence Col­lege in 2010. She recent­ly com­plet­ed her first full-length man­u­script of essays and poet­ry and has a chap­book in print and one forth­com­ing with Mouth­feel Press. She is the res­i­dent poet for Port Yon­der Press' online mag­a­zine Beyon­daries and her work has been fea­tured or is upcom­ing in 3:AM Mag­a­zine, Night Train, Ver­sal, Sug­ar House Review, among oth­ers. She writes in the deserts of West Texas.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.