Hannah Lee Jones

In a desert city tavern your lips are dry from kissing
the wrist of every woman who touches your face, unaware

it is not you they want but the wind’s knees, a cloud’s hand.

Stormed. Just one more tune, says the world, so play another,
then another, all the way down those hurricane tracks

to a room hushed past the cellar stair

as the key changer suddenly slips from your guitar,
leaving in your thumbs the scorched tailings of some god.

                                                Who do they think you are —

Though once in autumn you lifted a rock
from a creek and swore you saw it turn tide like the sea.

In the kitchen where these songs were born,

a day’s molt of shadows on the floor,
you said you sang them all in a skeleton key

just to remember in the dark you had talons and a beak.

Your face a curtain soon to fall, all limbs entwined
in that psalm of wire, clearly you want to fly

this coop to that cooler night. And as clearly

you’re already living it with its one blind arrow,
touching and leaving the ground with all its excuses,

not killing the unbearable silence, just filling it,

as if it’s the only lit payphone in an abandoned lot
and you’re picking it up, and answering yourself,

and lifting off again over that sea of voices...

Gone, beloved only of that falconer no one sees,
no more than a secret stirring in the windbreak's ear.

Hannah Lee Jones’s poems and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Superstition Review, Literary Orphans, Apogee, Yes Poetry, The Boiler, decomP, Cider Press Review, and Orion. She edits Primal School, a resource for poets pursuing their craft without an MFA, and lives on Whidbey Island in northwest Washington.