Dialysis by Dennis Hinrichsen

Blood wants an angel but all it has is Monday,
my mother

three states away,
left arm snaked and buttonholed

for dialysis.
What do they dream—mother

and blood—those long hours

Permeable membrane there same as here:
potassium expelled, magnesium,

wreckage of husband,

What is collected: reverse Eden
in a jar.

Just five seconds ago I batted away a honey bee.
Now it’s back,

my kneecap sweet
as rhododendron.

The bee’s flight: long trail of zigging then on a rope
to the hive,

its news: nectar everywhere.
My mother purrs, I

purr in a drift
of consciousness—

blood spurting
in packets the size of a bee

or hanging
in those death-red capillarial nets—human torsos—

I saw once
polymered to nothingness.

We breathe, the ribs

the living lungs inflate.
That perverse museum—

she’s going to die,
I’ll have to watch—

like so much shaken pollen
I’ll need a trowel as wide as my hand

to get one clear cylinder of gold,
that thicket

of wild flower—her glory days—
soon coating my throat.

Throat wants to say something,
blood and honey,

it always does,
but it’s dead air now

inside the daylight.
Heat crowning scalp, bees in the yard

like weed fluff,
bands of silence.

Mother leaning back, idling,
but still pegged down.

Bees for an instant
hovering in the shape of a mouth.

Appears in Skin Music, Dennis Hinrichsen’s new collection
Published in the October 2015 Issue

Little Hydra, Little Garden by Dennis Hinrichsen

Ryōan-ji Garden

Two trains meet and for a moment
their horns collide, open
like a great wing in the night—
car parts to the other side of town,
Port Huron-bound train to the east.
And then that fade, collapse.
Worm of absence.
The sound of the river re-inserts
itself. Rush of the outtake vents
pouring heat into the current
so fish can loll above the dam
before they sluice the gate
into hook and meat.
Downstream: turtles, heron stalking
a patch of mud for something
narrow, silver—minnow,
belly of frog. Newborn ducks
punked out and vulnerable.
All of us in linger and float, awaiting
placement. Angle of vision.
Just last month a neighbor pulled a snapper
from my garden two blocks
off the river and walked it back
like the fifteenth stone. Placed it in the weeds
so no one could see it. All
spring I waited for the hatchlings
to birth—like Ryōan-ji Garden.
Three or four pockets of stone
mimicking islands, creation.
Peaceful dragons. Me
high up because I dwarfed them.
I would have carried them all to the river
had they birthed. I would have,
as the sun arced and dirt warmed,
fingered every stone, stealing
enlightenment. But
then the sun arced, and dirt warmed.
Night bled in through summer trees.
What warrior rose then
from the packed earth? That fat god
riding the moment until the moment
passes, burned down again to ash
and teeth. Heron, duck.
Train horn like a memory
of some former happiness
until it happens again and I test
myself against the fiction, that
bright cinema I keep editing. Wife
hunkering close to mute a nightmare.
Cat sipping air through narrowed
pathways. Her weight against my leg
as dense and curved as a turtle’s.

Published in the October 2015 Issue

Baptism by Dennis Hinrichsen

I held my breath a long time before I let the drowning take over.
And then I was stood up, was put upon.

Larynx like a great cup wrapped in muscle
held to the light.

Jesus yip and howl.
Pre-Janis, pre-James Brown.

More pop than anything.
Beatle-esque, Mersey Beat.

The preacher’s hands still snorkeling my mouth.
White gown heavy and gelatinous with holy tap water.

It would take a long time before the howl
would cure

into something rawer, more sexual.
Wilson Picket’s midnight hour, Sam and Dave,

The Four Tops.
Moonlight gloving my white boy’s hands

like a beautiful suede
as I pawed

whomever I was with back then
in the back of my father’s aqua Mustang

and got pawed back.
The organs of voice and respiration—

the catamaran of the lungs
when we curled up and pretended to sleep,

the mediastina,
the cargoed hearts—

dormant for awhile in the mystery of skin
and Jesus

until the hermit (whose land this was, this back road)
crashed through the trees.

In her face lit by dash light I saw the moon
of my becoming

take its second shape as I fishtailed out
of a pile of spitting gravel,

hermit with a shotgun like a cross-beam
and a pumping fist.

We’d stolen something from him we couldn’t name
and so we hit the highway.

Sucked our breath.
Radio-offed his rage.

She lifted her head to laugh, revealed for an instant
her muscular throat.

Scent of her skin on my skin,
I brought my fingers to my face

and let the coolness breathe.
Then rocked the car into the valley of her singing

Appears in Skin Music, Dennis Hinrichsen’s new collection
Published in the October 2015 Issue

Fragment: Winter Journal by Dennis Hinrichsen

…then seizure again, that
blue clot, level

of the larynx,
can’t breathe, can’t

speak, don’t want to,
heron long gone

(where?), no longer
perfecting its one

slant move: stillness
stabbing at shadow,

its throat (no cry)
muscle of fin

and writhing, all
I dream

is blue weather,
blue snow

on a blue roof,
Rilke’s zombie angels

fixed in this world
for now, sharp,

angular ice,
halfway down the river

the trees are dirty with
them, as bent as

fishhooks, sundown:
last red wash of emptiness,

last seizure, ice cracking,
then seizure again…

Appears in Skin Music, Dennis Hinrichsen’s new collection
Published in the October 2015 Issue

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