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  • Writer's pictureLammergeier Staff

Two Poems | Kolleen Carney Hoepfner

On July Fourth, the Day After We Learned of Our Daughter, We Went to Joshua Tree

an abecedarian// for Fritz

Arriving in the desert is homecoming: hot sky sticky thick with July,

brown dirt caking my teal sneakers, my white dress dirty, and you

calm as this secret between us, the start of something, cells

dividing, multiplying. There is only us but really

even now there is the promise of someone else. Husband: today I

feed you sliced meats and cheeses, fruit spreads, savory-sweet. I

guide your hand to another glass of whiskey. You look away.

Heaven: this is the closest thing we have to it.

In the cover of the desert trees I undress

just to see you blush. You take my photo,

kiss my flat stomach my breasts not yet full. You

like the way the sun frames my shoulder,

makes my black hair look fire-red. Here, I feel the desperate

need to be naked, to watch fireworks from Twentynine Palms

over your linened shoulder, my hand on your head; feel

pure, hot breezes lick my hips, that

queer sensation of grit on the backs of my calves.

Red/blue/white lights the sky. My

skin hot and damp in a jumble on your lap.

The freedom of drinking and eating and fucking

under the setting summer sun— the only true freedom, the

vicious black night sky.

We are in this moment in my head forever, an

x-ray of our souls entwined, heavy and satisfied, happy.

You rest your head on my navel, sigh. Look at these stars, a blanket of them.

Zillions of stars. The sky could just swallow you whole.

Poem for Sheila Keefe

For Callie T.

No one ever breaks down the good of you,

childlike laugh and merriment pasta with white sauce,

cake cut into twelve perfect slices

They never say how beautiful you look in candlelight

or how you need to be held at night how you feel love’s weight

like a tower falling, all the time

Instead, they reduce you to tanned ass and tits,

browned skin against fuchsia sand on an Atlantic beach

and they make you crazy and call you crazy and drive you crazy, like

how there’s a certain kind of wonderment in the New York cold—

you can almost forget the fires that licked the ocean

that licked your feet that licked your even, whalebone teeth

Remember, Sheila, in your French maid costume, in your

red wine cups times twenty, in your mourning veil

remember your legs hung hard around his hips, his narrow ass

remember when you said floor by floor, you disappeared

collapsing over and over, a thousand times, remember Sheila,

how you said even as you begged him to stay with you

how you said you didn’t know how to tell him

how you said please don’t leave me, I love you

remember, Sheila, you said

I think sometimes Tommy wishes he had died in Jimmy’s place

and you paused, your hand gesturing over that part of your breast where your heart is

you paused and you said and so do I

Kolleen Carney Hoepfner's poetry and other writings can be found in Rabid Oak, Memoirs Mixtape, Glass, Occulum, and elsewhere. Kolleen serves as Editor in Chief of Drunk Monkeys, and is the Managing Editor and Social Media Coordinator for Zoetic Press. She is the author of Your Hand Has Fixed the Firmament (Grey Book Press) and A Live Thing, Clinging with Many Teeth (Spooky Girlfriend Press). Her main goal in life is to have Alec Baldwin smile at her. She lives in Burbank, California, with her husband and children.

Twitter: @KolleenCarney

Instagram: @kolleenbee

Facebook: Kolleen Carney Hoepfner



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