Do you blame the morning for the tendrils
of smoke across the field? Or the broken
triangles of light for falling like prayers
over the dragon’s teeth of icy tallgrass?
The vapor of our breath hangs like fruit
on greasy windows. A day slowly yawns
into existence, and ligaments melt and crack
open like doors. Nostrils find skin’s sweetness
and the charcoal bite of the air. Let me ask,
how does the earliest light always know to fill
the deepest faults that run the earth? We’ve drawn
such ragged terrain that I sometimes expect wells
full of ink to greet me when I wake. Instead,
the morning wrings us through its cold prism,
stretches us over its knife. We let every incomplete
map guide us to this hour, and now we find only
smoldering char to remind us of the rare heat
that pulls stronger than the warm vein of sun.
Dane Hamann works as an editor for a textbook publisher in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University, where he also serves as the poetry editor of TriQuarterly.