Brett Hanley


It’s been a hard week. I go to the yard and sit.

Heal faster! I say to the face reflected in my phone.

I Google, how much serotonin do you actually get from the sun? 

Speak to me only of actualities.

Next, I Google: sun wrinkles myth

and then do I actually have to wear sunscreen every day?

When I was young, and I discovered Google for myself,

I searched how do you know if you’re actually gay?

An adult had told me I wouldn’t know

until I was older, maybe my mid-twenties.

I’m older, and I’ve exhausted finding out,

and I just want to know

the sun’s actual intentions. Let me compare

the sun to a lover. She dashed off, and it meant

what? My dog, who worships the day,

is on her back, collecting the inestimable dirt.

February in Florida, how much does it cost?

If you’re asking the question, it’s probably too much,

the wind answers as the treetops scoot

a lash off the sky’s cheekbone.

Brett Hanley is a Poetry Editor for Southeast Review. She holds an MFA from McNeese State and is a PhD candidate at Florida State. Their work is forthcoming or has recently been published in West Branch, Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, Puerto del Sol, THE BOILER, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere. She was a semi-finalist for the 2022 92Y Discovery Contest and has received support from The Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.