Emilie Hanson


concrete image

there is a building

and on top of that 
building there is a storm. the storm 
is your mother and asks 
directions, e.g. which way is 
the mississippi. mom, you tell 
your mom, look. there 
is a building and inside  
that are some stories. the thirteenth 
is full of asbestos; no one 
knows why. there is

a building and on top of that there is 
a woman: she is your lover, she is sun- 
bathing but your building is 
covered in rain, is 
on the south side; she is going 
to get shot. she is naked, she is trying 
to erase 
tan lines, is developing 
skin cancer and other personality quirks.  
there is a building and you think you might 
own it but the city does, and takes 
it: the stories collapse 
easily, a thin power- 
line placed in the bullet-proof air.


in the gallery 

this man                 you'll forget 
after the hors d'oeuvres 
like stars are swallowed 
in dark folds, silk moving slow like glitter 
tornadoes in two-liter bottles. tonight 
you are the eye. the man looks  
limply at you from beside 
the painting you constructed. you think 
he must be vacant now,  
this man,                 but he recollects 
your hair, it was shorter, 
ankles, swinging, from tall  
chairs, under the cuffs of  
                                   rolled-up jeans. 
the two of you are heavy like cinnamon 
sediment inside of hot apple cider.  
the women sip wine, and you  
desire to run up to them and tip their glasses 
onto each thousand dollar dress. instead  
you slip into a corner 
of the room, as you are

in the painting, sitting in a 
wooden chair, your heels lodged under  
your knees in a skirt long enough to hide 
black underwear, under that  
black skirt, the black 
notebook in your lap, 
the black cat on the book, keeping you 
from writing in it, or getting

up. the man is standing  
by a window in the painting, looking outside. the man is staring 
at the painting, avoiding his eye and missing 
that something is there 
                                     in the painting. you did not invite 
the memory but he is there, eating the cheese 
and crackers from France, he holds a handful 
while the trays are all empty and shining like the moon. 


Camping in Woods  

We are on a camping 
trip. We have never been out 
camping before, so we don’t forget 
to forget everything we could 
need. We’re badasses with sunglasses. 
How do you make soup? We don’t  
know. We try anyway. How do you 
catch fish? We learn how to 
get wet. We are on a camping trip 
because we want independence– 
our very own parents’ 
basement in the sky. We sleep in 
shifts, swat mosquitoes, eat 
a new vegetable. Fair enough. Wish we knew 
how to process marshmallows. 
These woods are really 
fucking cold. We’ve seen men 
make fire–can we make fire? 
The sticks are wet. The timber 
is wet. We cheat a little. 
We burn mosquitoes because their 
buzzing annoys us. This is boring. We’re 
camping and we’re bored 
because it’s so quiet and all 
we have is talk. But we don’t.

past simple home