Han VanderHart

The House

it has rooms on rooms:
they bloom like crocuses
a sudden choral presence
in the dry grass

it has corridors and hallways
from your dreamscapes
the ones with threesomes
and the secret garden

it has secret gardens
where nothing grows
because the gardeners
are unknown or away

it has chairs for long evenings
tables for eating
children sometimes
running through

it has empty iceboxes
with cold packs, and a fish
frozen in a block of ice
for clarity’s sake

it has dogs that rub
up against your thigh
when you go for a stroll
cats by the windows and plants

it has formal dining rooms
and sunlit kitchens,
chalkboards and chalk dust,
desks with strange carvings

it has a dungeon
where the willing go
slipping their wrists
into the manacles

it has libraries and stacks
of blank paper
it has rooms to chant
alphabets in

it has silence
like a rosy light
or last evening’s
orange on the pines



The Painting Above My Therapist’s Head

mountains, pines, blue river
running through

has the geometric perspective of renaissance art

has an oak frame, cream matte
looks like it was thrifted

exists quietly

while she tells me of the Klan
burning down a couple’s house foundation


burning down the parsonage and church
that took the couple in

in Kentucky in the 1980’s
her mother the school bus driver

the children in the morning
talking about their dads

coming home last night
drenched in gasoline and smoke

how the Klan would solicit donations
door to door on the weekends

and the next weekend, the fire department
the same people on the front step

and I’m wondering what can hold us but art

how when someone tells you
something true

art can speak it
even while the house

is burning



Han VanderHart is a genderqueer, Southern writer living in Durham, North Carolina. Han is the author of the poetry collection What Pecan Light (Bull City Press, 2021) and the chapbook Hands Like Birds (Ethel Zine Press, 2019). They have poetry and essays published in The Boston Globe, Kenyon Review, The American Poetry Review, The Rumpus, AGNI and elsewhere. Han hosts Of Poetry podcast and edits Moist Poetry Journal as well as reviews at EcoTheo Review. Han edits the poetry press River River Books with Amorak Huey.