after “Flower Meadow in the North” by Harald Sohlberg
Holy moon. Sleepy
house. River smile.
tongue still glowing
A welcome silence
laid like a razor
on the cheek. A perfect
edge around summer’s mouth.
after “Olive Trees” by Vincent van Gogh
If the gnarled olive trees teach me
one thing as they curl cupped-hand-like
toward the yellow spout of sun, it’s that
we reach for that which hurts us.
The trees stretch into a cloudless pool
of radiating light. Their dusty green leaves
slender as flames. Lavender shadows flowing
like rivers across the orange heaves of dirt.
Even the ghostly mountains, a canopy of linen
rising blue and billowy over the olive trees,
seem weak and washed out as they stagger
across the unforgiving sky. This is a dizzy dance,
this begging for and being wounded
by sunlight. The trees know exactly
what it is that they want. I believe
I do too. But the trees and I share a secret.
We are also waiting for the sky to soften
with rain. The difference between us
is that when I venture out into the brilliant,
hot day, I sway from shadow to shadow,
drifting around the sun-strewn orchard
of my thirst. While the trees stay rooted,
twisting like broken bones in the dry soil,
stark desire burned into their bold limbs.
Dane Hamann works as an editor and indexer for a textbook publisher in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University, later serving as the poetry editor of TriQuarterly for over five years. His chapbook Q&A was published by Sutra Press and his micro-chapbooks have been included in multiple Ghost City Press Summer Series. His first full-length collection A Thistle Stuck in the Throat of the Sun was published by Kelsay Books in 2021.