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Like him, like our son is now, we were each
already on the brink of something,
and terrified.  That’s why we fell in love again
after our veering journeys, quick and stubborn, then long.

It was purely coincidence. It was luck. It was love.
We were falling anyway, which we felt by the speed
of our weight. We couldn’t see the distance down
speeding towards us, but we were sure that we were gone.

Then there was a space of a certain shape.
And that shape was the one that wasn’t fear, wasn’t stupidity.
We didn’t have time for further discernment.

We seemed tame to one another,
as important to grab as a branch.


27 October. Dreary.

When it finally stops out there with the fog and drizzle
towards the end of the week, the beauty will be over,
most of the leaves having fallen with their bright sides
smacked to the mud. And when one day of sun
peels them apart and sends them off with the least
suggestion of the air, where can they turn then, but back
upon themselves and back to ground, their vibrancies leaching,
their canvases swissed, then laced, then skeletalized
under the traffic of squirrels and shoes and tires?

We will come inside for color: the warm yellow of the lamp,
the beef-colored beef au jus-ing on the once
white platter, the squash with its sliding pat of butter,
the bright kernels of corn, burgundy disks of beets.
This is the season for deciding to marry.
The outside world has abandoned us.
We can feel it growing colder, and we know about
the landscape to come, abstract and simplified by ice.
It’s another kind of beauty, a perfect kind of beauty.
It can’t quite include us.


Early Cinematography

                            The cinema is an invention without a future.                                          
                                                        —Louis Lumière
An elm by the side of the road.

An elm by the side of the road.

Was that a slight breeze
Lifting some of the leaves?

A wagon, pulled by a horse,
Appears, but there’s been
No approach to speak of;

A wagon has entered the picture
without a sound to signal it.
Nor can there be

Departure into distance
—O we have the will,
But not a way to follow it.

Our focus is fixed.
An elm by the side of the road.
A disturbance in the leaves . . .

Is this on a loop, have we
Seen the whole thing?

Possibility is constant.

                                     Musée Lumière, Lyon   


Julie Hanson’s new collection, Unbeknownst, won the Iowa Poetry Prize in 2010 and was published by the University of Iowa Press in March of 2011.  Other awards include the 2010 Adele and Robert Schiff Poetry Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work appears in recent and current issues of The Cincinnati Review, New Ohio Review, Crab Orchard Review, Great River Review, and Terrain.org, and on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and the Daily Palette.