Lisa Hiton: Poetry

Lisa Hiton holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Boston University and an M.Ed. in Arts in Education from Harvard University. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Linebreak, The Paris-American, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Vinyl, and LAMBDA Literary among others. Her first book has been a finalist or semi-finalist for the New Issues Poetry Prize, the Brittingham & Felix Pollack Poetry Prize, the Crab Orchard Review first book prize, the Pamet River Prize, and the YesYes Books open reading period. She has received the AWP WC&C Scholarship, the Esther B Kahn Scholarship from 24Pearl Street at the Fine Arts Work Center, and two nominations for the Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook, Variation on Testimony, is forthcoming from CutBank. She is the Interviews Editor at Cosmonaut’s Avenue.

 

LETHARGY

I am ill with history.
With watching it happen
and not belonging to it. In the efforts of
lesbianism, I have fallen
asleep. Light
through windows leaves your face
reflecting
what I’m sure I will die of
back at me, a magnifying glass
over the smooth hard body
in which I cannot exit. We act
like lovers, as if the manners of coming into existence
drop over us again and again like water,
and even though we are hard
bodies, the water, we know, means
never having foot to ground. I know this. The light
does not break through
the casing, yet I wait
for its violence.
I tell myself I want a lover.
I want a lover.
(What I wanted was a sister.)

 

Originally published in LAMBDA Literary, Spring 2016.

 

TERRA VITA

My mother kneeling

next to the hibiscus

with a little hand shovel

planting hyacinths

when I came to watch her.

 

I must have been seven or eight,

wide-eyed at the vague thing

flopping in her hand.

She reached in, fumbled

through the soil. When she found

 

the other half of the worm

she placed it at the base of a flower

to show me that it was still alive,

that both halves were working

on their own, wriggling

 

back to their underground world

to be useful:

 

 

It’s gorgeous in Boston today,

everyone is outside sunbathing

just like that day with the worm

 

and I know I had a dream about you

again. Or maybe it was your dream

and I was conjured to dwell there

 

so you wouldn’t be alone. Why

I anticipate forgetting the clouds

today, their shapes, how lifelike

 

they are when they drift…

why I remember the worm…

it has something to do with skin

 

and pink smokestacks. My palms

red before callusing

after working at a steer,

or dragging a heavy load…

 

Oh God, you hath given me two hands

but only one heart.

 

Originally published in Tinderbox, Fall 2016.