Hannah Mettner

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We were walking and discussing
the architecture of our future
home, though we didn’t know it.

Autumn settled on the bridge
of her lips and I couldn’t tell her
I didn’t want to kiss that cold –

I was never any good at caring
for her when she was sick.
I had to keep asking her to repeat

herself because the wind would
unwind her words before
she was done with them.

The garage of bones
we walked past stopped
that fight, at least.

A wind rode by, and on it floated
a convergence of dust.
She took my hand to tell me

dust is never just dust – oh
daughter of archaeology,
you should know!

What I don’t care about astounds
me. Bone compels – the crucial
architecture, the fundamental structure.

What I might hone into a powder,
fold into a paper square, talk
into a spell. That gritty midnight mantra.

She was always more comfortable
with the blood – her hands neat
on a raw piece

slicing away the fat, chipping out
a rogue vein, tongue between
her teeth.

There are proper and improper ways
to hunger – crimson was always
her favourite colour.

Somewhere in our future
my spade chomps at
something where I am turning

over a vege garden. We keep
chickens, she keeps an axe.
I still prefer skulls –

the elegant syntax
of heads without their faces
attached. Her fingernails

are never entirely clean.
What she cares about confounds
me – I don’t remember

most of what we’ve said
to each other – just the shape of her
lips settling on her words –

maybe we should dig them up
but then, where would we
keep them?

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