Two Poems by Constance Hansen

Constance Hansen

Constance Hansen

Constance Hansen is the Assistant Managing Editor of Poetry Northwest. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Washington. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in: Rhino Poetry, Four Way Review, Harvard Review Online, Southern Humanities Review, Cimarron Review, The Idaho Review, Vallum, On the Seawall, Northwest Review, Mercury Firs, River Mouth Review, Psaltery & Lyre, EcoTheo Review, Volume Poetry, and elsewhere. She lives in Seattle, where she was born and raised.

About Time

The first first trimester, 
I could only abide 
cornflakes & mapo tofu.
Nothingness & numbing peppers. 
The second second trimester, 
a miscommunication among cells 
took place in the guts 
of my father. 
My oblivion baby 
began in a weeper’s womb.
I was a woman wiping vomit
off a maternity pantsuit. 
Not mine at the time. 
Too many fries for my firstborn
at the election party 
where we watched Tetris 
pieces fall blue,
red, red, red, red.
Faces fell through 
the tavern window—
me on the wet side, 
the dark side, fishing a howler 
in doll shoes from puddles. 
November in Seattle—
where it’s well after midnight
by happy hour. No matter 
how many times he asked, 
I said yes, Leonard Cohen, 
I do want it darker,
but the Winter Solstice 
spat me back out.
Dianthus heralded
baby & one of her
ancestral names, 
Diantha, the other, 
Ruth, presaged 
anticipatory grief. 
We got the black
out curtains back out.
I was awake, alone 
at last in the quiet 
of a sleeping pack.
I was reading Bonhoeffer
when my father 
called at 10pm the day 
after he learned 
(but the first day he learned 
to let his family down).
Lesions, imaged.
Lesions on his pancreas,
stomach, lungs. 
Biopsy scheduled.
I did not sleep 
for two years 
and would have then slept 
for two had I my way. 
Time is planetary. 
On Titan, 
seasons last for earth-years. 
There was no third third trimester. 
My final child  
was all the grief 
I’d ever owned 
but never known. 

What Were You Doing the Moment of the First Mutation? 

Making the guest bed for strangers 
           Checking your hair for spiders
Unbuckling my lunch box
           Nuking your coffee
Rubbing green Xerox light from your eyes
           Laughing against a doorframe
Falling asleep with the lamp on 
           Slipping a book into a friend’s milk box
Lowering your voice into the phone
           Laying hands on your reading glasses
Dreaming without sleeping
           Sloughing hearts
Hanging stars
           Signing Mary Ann
Sleeping without dreaming
           Peeling a tangerine
Listening for the garage door
           Asking the butcher for more
Dreaming an irretrievable dream
           Sliding into the woods through the slush
Saving your place in a mystery