READ LOCAL SUNDAY is your glimpse into the working minds and hearts of Utah’s literary writers. 15 Bytes regularly offers works-in-progress and/or recently published work by some of the state’s most celebrated and promising writers of fiction, poetry, literary nonfiction and memoir.
Today we feature Provo-based Trish Hopkinson, co-founder of the regional poetry group, Rock Canyon Poets, and editor-in-chief of the group’s annual poetry anthology Orogeny. Here she offers us three poems, previously published. Her latest chapbook, Footnote, was published this year by Lithic Press.
after “Walking Around” by Pablo Neruda
It so happens, I am tired of being a woman.
And it happens while I wait for my children to grow
into the burning licks of adulthood. The streaks
of summer sun have gone,
drained between gaps into gutters,
and the ink-smell of report cards and recipe boxes
cringes me into corners. Still I would be satisfied
if I could draw from language
the banquet of poets.
If I could salvage the space in time
for thought and collect it
like a souvenir. I can no longer
be timid and quiet, breathless
I can’t salve the silence.
I can’t be this vineyard
to be bottled, corked,
cellared, and shelved.
That’s why the year-end gapes with pointed teeth,
growls at my crow’s feet, and gravels into my throat.
It claws its way through the edges of an age
I never planned to reach
and diffuses my life into dullness—
workout rooms and nail salons,
bleach-white sheets on clotheslines,
and treacherous photographs of younger me
at barbecues and birthday parties.
I wait. I hold still in my form-fitting camouflage.
I put on my strong suit and war paint lipstick
and I gamble on what’s expected.
And what to become. And how
to behave: mother, wife, brave.
First published by Wicked Banshee Press
Temple City listens to Orlando
Neon wraps temple spires
glowing against the dusk
of vacancy. It’s here we claim
place—the desert calm of
a temple city. Shrouded in
exile, pulled from golden trumpets,
a rhapsody of the blessed and
the blues riffs of apostates.
If only a choir could bellow
into our organs, harmonize hymns
through our hearts, push compassion
beneath skin. If we only had a sign,
an arrow of direction, a revelation
unveiling the briny depths,
the salt of the lake, of the ocean.
What kind of room is this?
The drawer in the side table
shouts in tongues, bleeds to be opened,
shudders at footsteps in the hall.
The sleepy patron rolls to his side,
pulls back the covers and stands
to draw the drapes shut.
How can anyone sleep
with the buzz, the flickering
First published in Quail Bell
Your bright eyes push up into blue
and your limbs, like stalks,
climb the air with slight steps,
as if the atmosphere never pressed
its weight into you. Lifting,
as if light is thin and splits
to make way for you.
You taste of sunbeam and pollen.
My tendrils pull me taut,
tether me heavy to the dirt
where I can’t pull free
from root or worm.
Drudging, as if light is glue,
an emission confining me.
If only I could pluck a petal
from your fingertips and place it
between my ear and the earth,
I would hear the rush of the sky.
First published in Stirring
Trish Hopkinson has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. A Pushcart-nominated poet, she has been published in several anthologies and journals, including Stirring, Pretty Owl Poetry, and Chagrin River Review; and her third chapbook Footnote was published by Lithic Press in 2017. She is a product director by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow Hopkinson on her blog where she shares information on how to write, publish, and participate in the greater poetry community here.