While Our Father Was Hunting Rocks

By ELIZABETH HAZEN
Mountains rise beyond the Laundromat
like ochre waves about to crash; our father,
armed with tools and pack, tracks the rocks
without a map. Here, the Laundromat is all
in a strip of vacancies; for miles, nothing
but dirt, dust, outcrop, sky. Our mother gives

us coins to clink in the machine; it gushes
cold, foams with the flower-scented soap we dump
from a plastic scoop. Out back, we kick the dirt:
curled in sagebrush, the carcass of a cat.
Inside, our mother, lost in swirls of fading
color, and somewhere in the rocks that look
so near collapse, our father carves out meaning.
When he returns to us, hours later, or days,
he pulls trilobites from his pack, licks them clean.
See? he says, and we do. Dusk hovering,
we chatter at him, showing him the laundry
we have helped our mother fold. At last, we lead him
to the cat, our great find, its stench rising, the novelty
of death a little less under his studied gaze,
and the flies buzzing like static, eager to feed.

 

Elizabeth Hazen has poems appearing or forthcoming in Best American Poetry 2013, The Threepenny Review, Southwest Review, Fourteen Hills, Salamander, and other journals. She lives in Balitmore.

[Purchase your copy of Issue 02 here.]

While Our Father Was Hunting Rocks

Related Posts

Headshots of Miller and Gill

Marie-Andrée Gill: Poems in Translation from SPAWN

MARIE-ANDREE GILL
Marie-Andrée Gill’s Spawn is a surprising, colorful, virtuosic collection. Its brief, untitled poems span ’90s-kid nostalgia, the life cycle of fresh-water salmon, a coming of age, and the natural landscape of the Mashteuiatsh reserve, centered on Lake Piekuakami

Saudade

DIPIKA MUKHERJEE
In Itaparica, the beach broods / under ruddy sky. Two fishermen / and I search waves spitting / shells: ribbed green, a crown / for a queen; a conch; an obelisk; / a whorled shell; a thin swell / pink modica of a disc.

image of ceramic toy walmart

December 2019 Poetry Feature: New Poems for the Holiday Season

ADAM SCHEFFLER
A poem can’t tell you what it’s like / to be 83 and seven hours deep / into a Christmas Eve shift / at Walmart, cajoling / beeps from objects like the secret / name each of us will never / be sweetly called, can’t show / you her face and eyes like the