Hannah Corrie

Galileo Went Blind

Not from looking at the sun, which is what people say,
but from some bacteria that inhabited his eyeball like it was

a good planet. There’s no poetic justice here,
just so many small things clamoring to survive.

When I turn on the news now, it’s all the same.
Over and over they say, we’re killing ourselves

with our living. Over and over I tell myself
there is no meaning in irony. Outside, starlings

are singing. Upstairs, my sister is screaming. Before,
I was crying, but now I’m watching

as cumulus clouds gather like a cataract
over the luminous sky— I know

I should condemn the coming storm, its turbulent
brewing and unflinching center, say

it is wrong to make people suffer
and feel small, but

everything glows
in the low light.

I heard, after he lost his sight, Galileo stayed inside
and studied gravity. He spent his days rolling balls

down ramps, and, I suppose, learned to love the song
of the soft plummet, which means

something tethers us to this Earth
after all.

End of a School Year

There’s a garden
on the roof of the preschool,
and the children are
not yet ready to leave–
in dappled light,
they break brambles,
heave old mud and
dead roots to Compost,
dance in mist that drifts
up from the Hudson– I dole out
seeds, pretend it’s not time
to go in, then watch as
the children scatter
lavender, daisies,
mint, poppies, creeping
thyme, sweet cherry
tomatoes. I swish my skirt
and settle in dirt with a trowel.
A little girl says
“yes, I will stay here forever!”
then begins restlessly
turning soil, like it’s a plot
in a story she hasn’t quite
worked out.

The Stairs

It was like
a seed being sown
in an unsubtle plot,
watching him balance at the top
of the stairs,
one leg thrown casually
over the banister as we sat below,
he was always
joking like this
at eighty
eighty-five
ninety
even as he thinned,
lost teeth, lived
mostly on liquids, even though my grandmother
ordered him down
he would not
stop, look
I am limber, I am a ballerina, I stretch
to infinity,
and because
I have always been a reader
I knew what must come next:
Who could not imagine it
shoelaces never tied          the stairs
so steep          just one misplaced
step and         all that momentum
in his long body         in a story it means
the descent is coming          he was a scientist, he said
an object at rest stays
at rest         there was nothing I could do
I watched as he         was always
singing         once he stood still
his greyish eyes on the precipice
of blue, he told me “every symbol
contains its opposite” and then
over and over,
he ascended,
he descended.

The Plot

I dreamed of the fall before I fell, I reached for Sylvia Plath then found out
it was her birthday, I said the name of an ex and his face popped up
on my dating app, I saw things wrong and thought the woman at the party
was wearing the same dress as me, but it wasn’t until later that a woman
in the same dress showed up, last week a friend and I went to a bookstore, I
picked up a book and said, let’s play a game, let’s pretend this is an oracle,
flip to a random page and let it predict our fates,
when I opened the book
the character was explaining to a friend how a book can be used as an oracle and
don’t you ever feel like the dead are lingering just beneath you, drifting on some luminous
river running parallel to your own life? They will drop you at the precise intersection
of I’ve been here before and I have no idea what’s coming, Universe—
sometimes I flatter myself and say it must all be love, but really, I’m so tired
of playing charades in the dark. All I know is, in the weeks before my house
caught fire, I read two books: One was about a house that caught fire.
The other was about two children who could spontaneously combust.
They were not hurt. They would not apologize. Over and over, they burst into flames.

Hannah Corrie is a poet and educator living in New York. She graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University with a BA in English, and received her MA in English and American Literature from New York University. Her work has previously appeared in Live Mag and is forthcoming in Atticus Review.
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , by Posit Editor. Bookmark the permalink.

About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.