Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick


We made tents out of fallen pine trees and Jenny
let me have every rock from her
studio set back in the mountain like a cave

I entered to feel safe. Her most loved stone,
I stole it, threw it in the well where
a man was said to be broken, then

abandoned because he was bad to little girls.
I wanted him to have light again, in his eyes
because, maybe he could see my body and

talk to it, the way he did the others
before breaking their wrists with rope
stolen from the horses. Jenny would chant,

calling ghosts to the room, she told me to
stand in a dark corner, just listen
with your whole body. How, I asked

does the body listen all together?
Like it has no other choice,
she said, as if it's in danger. Oh,

I said. I knew what she meant but
what worries me now is the thrill
I felt shake through me and still feel

like I've been down the well,
calling him my whole life—Yes,
Yes, she said. Just like that.

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She has been nominated for a Best New Poets and her manuscript was a finalist for the Levis Prize in Poetry. Hardwick’s chapbook, Hummingbird Mind, is available through Mouthfeel Press and she is an associate poetry editor for The Boiler Journal. Her work has appeared in the following: Salt Hill, Devil's Lake, Versal, Sugar House Review, Four Way Review, among others. She writes in the deserts of West Texas

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