Clare Collins Hogan

Aubade and Promise

Who can say no to the trees slipping,
by degrees, into their own nakedness? I say,
in protest of dominion, Hello. I’d like

to be a sucker for these things—the garment
unravelling, or rather the way I unravel it,
spinning out in the damp heart of my palm,

and it does, and I do, spin. But underfoot
each bright leaf smarts. I’m trying to let them go.
Trying, as each morning the night sky slides

from its nylons, to let the air touch my skin
and not, finding it colder, draw back. Undress
trees of bark and you’re sure to see scars:

knots in the grain dense pits around which
new bark must navigate. And around them
this time each year the air gets sweet. I’m sweet.

Or can be. Or want to. Like this: I won’t hold
one grudge when the birds come back.
I won’t make of your mouth a metonym

for everything you’ve ever said—just note,
at night, when it’s open in sleep, how every
inhale tunnels your neck, pulling that night in.

Clare Collins Hogan is a writer from Maryland. She received her MFA and a Zell Fellowship in poetry from the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where she won an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her work has appeared with Heavy Feather Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Dunes Review, and is forthcoming from the EcoTheo Review and Fugue.
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