If Loving You Was a Condition Where I Needed to Hunt Pain

by Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick


If I lost you in a forest if
like a fox you went under

ground its own earth
another world as though

your body was
a kinder animal capable

enough to hold trauma
in the mid-brain I keep

your unanswered letters
sour attempts to hide us

from the world you show me
wild bodies a man who eats

his sleep with grown teeth
underneath rubble of war &

I’m angry at how it falls
apart inside you quiet

not quite undetected I
reach for foxes inside

myself their tails shrieking
as they race to consume

their mirror images
in your chest we close in

on each other’s hurt as though
there’s one wounded plate & two

left over pears from the autumn before
we knew each other’s name.

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick’s work has appeared in Salt Hill, Thrush, The Texas Observer, Devil’s Lake, Four Way Review, Sugar House Review, Huffington Post UK, among others. A graduate from Sarah Lawrence College’s MFA program, Hardwick serves as the poetry editor for The Boiler Journal and her first book of poetry, Before Isadore, was recently published by Sundress Publications.

Photo: “We were all animals” by Jonathan Emmanuel Flores Tarello

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