Animals: Two Poems by Hannah Matheson

Uncle, You Died Young in March

& after I got weird for a while. started
mishearing things. in anatomy
class, ephemeral artery. in another world,

the somber man actually did sing
the words I mistook. did they tear the rain out
from your fragrance? it stormed

your entire funeral, but the day went
because of time, & the month folded
into April, & still I stood

in your backyard where
you’d filled in the pool with dirt
for a garden I never finished weeding

when you were alive. I looked at the magnolias,
overripe and obscenely bright, they cast
the sun back at me, pungent satellites

of grief. I walked your dog
down the alley where ivy buckled
overhead, bridge of green shadow,

light visible as I looked up at honeysuckle’s
underbelly, its backlit veins. he didn’t run
to the creek, not since he smelled death

on your body & slept in the giveaway
pile of your shirts. he lept into the donation van
when it came, headlong after your scent

leaving, & we dragged him out.
a necessary cruelty.  stupid canine reflex,
how he whipped his head around to any

opening door. I could say I wasn’t like this,
that love isn’t so pavlovian, but I’m lying,
& it was me, right behind, running to the car

to salvage your college sweatshirt
from a future worn on someone else. 

Frankenstein and His Monster Mourn Creation 

I did not ask for
the gauntlet of chemistry made corporeal
tight-stitched love, you vanished or never were for
the agony of ugly invention. fear turns
asymptotically to negative infinity
quarter blood in rawbedded cuticles,
somehow I swallow air on loan
while you’re away. plantar fasciitis of
wayward monster crafted broken,
your ghost breath on the wind,
defunct God beyond the grave
who knows what it is to regret life he gave,
grotesque and paltry gift,
listen, I was made by man
stoking coals in my marrow,
these hollow bones. I beget emptiness. stillborn violets
purpling swollen pads of my fingers.
mandated with this necromanced charter
some days I want
sluiced iron from green flesh,
thread lightning between the screws temple to temple
electric pulsating, a fugue violent
spine bends to breaking:     the brutal torque of

the bail of this body, I just woke up, craving. I ran 
from mad scientists, men with pitchforks poised to unsuture
my patchwork skin. wrench bolts from my skull. 
fury of what’s made. horizon dwindling to its end, I trundle
in search of my partner. rend myself,
finding no like green to sink into. 
condemnation coming for me. breathe
my flight, bridge of needles 
buckling. still I step to
a heart’s phantom song, hunger for someone holy,
who cannot redeem this long-limbed lumbering
my body has paid tolls for the doctor’s
bargain with the devil. 
same as you. I swear it. curse my short-changed share,
embers weigh down  
encased just below this skin, 
I touch tenderly, 
brokered by fallen angels. but
angels still. these people—
and I tried dancing but faltered along
my brain in thrall,
in yearning. I tried dancing, but
this world lay concrete over

About Hannah Matheson

Hannah Matheson author photo

Hannah Matheson is an MFA candidate in poetry at New York University, where she is an assistant poetry editor of Washington Square Review. Previously awarded scholarships to attend The Frost Place Conference on Poetry, Hannah’s work appears or is forthcoming in Four Way Review, The Adroit Journal, Pigeon Pages, Solar, Image Journal, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. Hannah currently works as publicist and editor at Four Way Books.