A Poem by Laura Eve Engel

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

Escape Hatch

Was thinking escape hatch is what I’d require.
I think escape hatch to myself in the park
and see it slink on its two good legs away
from view, leaving me with this turned-
over feeling. So long, hatch. Hello.
For a while now I’ve been hiding the news
from myself, but sometimes thoughts
try to locate the exits while I’m sleeping.
I wake to the notion of taking someone’s hands
in my hands putting on its shoes in the dark,
making its way to the door. Come back,
hands in my hands. Sometimes my thoughts
ask for gratitude and I become furious.
As far as I know, thoughts, cancer still exists,
and math, and you, like a shovel, have done
about what you can do with these things
and no better. Mostly what you’ve done is
a little light soil reorganization. My confusion
this time has to do with how routinely
we pick up handfuls of shore and toss them
into the water like we don’t know what
we’re doing. The world is full of containers
waiting to be spilled out or stepped into
like a sandbox, supported for the moment
by so many tiny plastic tractors. I hold
my phone up to the sun and it is in this way
that I live on the backs of other, loftier ideas.
Then there are geese and I point at them
as if I’ve been asked to prove it, their sounds
and that letter in the sky they swallow into.
As around everything the world is gestured at
and goes on, I’ve been made by those
distant buildings, how they face one another
and do not move, to feel like a coward.

Laura Eve Engel’s work can be found or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Tin House, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.

You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.