Heather Napualani Hodges received her BA in English with a focus in creative writing from Lewis & Clark College, in Portland, Oregon. She studied under the nurturing gaze of poets Mary Szybist and Jerry Harp, who helped her with this little thing called inertia. She is currently working on a collaborative visual art/writing installation project entitled Pieces, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with visual artist Julie Jansen. Each day something is created, placed carefully, then left behind. She is busy upending cups and overturning couches in an attempt to raise enough money to apply for an MFA creative writing program. Her fingers are crossed. Her toes, too.
The Sadnesses of Galileo
standing alone in the room.
The oscillation so quick he is quite still.
Home: the ribcage of a tepid hummingbird.
The room adjusting its bearing around him.
The compass commanding different directions,
the dialects turned delicate.
The demure contents of the room
mapping the syllabic constellation of the idol’s posture,
pirouetting around the body,
calling that faith.
But look, the body is idle!
The barbaric ballerinas we all are descended from, loyal, delicious.
The flowers hesitating at the threshold;
their sudden breath in, signalling the tragedy.
The morning bereft
by the sudden loss of birds.
The vernacular taking hold in the branches outside.
Something dark rustling. The small king crying out his large fear.
The man standing alone in the room,
trying to make everything better.
Exchanging the martyring orbit for a sorrowful honor of shoes.
This is what we came to,
this petite act:
the filling in of afternoon.
Naming the calendar days after a series of discontinued loyalties.
The horrifying fact: nothing is ever sudden.
Oh, but you should have been born a threaded ruin instead of a man.
It is not a mark of patience or grace that you are still standing within the same walls.
The walls tried to take their leave, but you, tiny tethered creature, tiptoed after.
like so many things;
undeserving of the room.
Recant the passage of days, quick, before they settle in and take hold, asking for bread and milk.
Unsing the faith, but do it fully.
Things have a way of coming back.
garden unwinding beneath her
tree letting go of the roots.
And shrinking back into hardened seeds, things run.
Hurried gathering in of a thousand small scents.
The bird's mouth withdrawing a siren from the air
to climb back into the pieces of broken egg.
The morning restored to stillness.
A careful process of reversal.
Her white hair growing calmly back up from the floorboards, pulling past the velvet armchair, moving the curtains, shifting you in your seat.
Entire inches climbing back. The scalp shivering as it becomes the loom.
The head growing smaller, softer, tiny ball of pale clay,
falling quickly up through the space between someone's parted legs.
The legs closing. The promise whispered backwards.
The people waltzing counterclockwise.
The terrace holding the bodies.
The hands releasing their hold,
The sky falling outside,
Intricate origami cities.
Houses full of families
The window gone, now the roof, now the fence, now the patriarch,
flattening into piles and piles of shiny paper.
The water pulling itself back across the table to jump into the upright cup you have only just begun to hold.
A child crying under a blanket,
The movements practiced a thousand times.
The fabric stretching to accommodate the body.
The thread unstitching itself
to let in the cold.