by Hannah Loeb

for my first earthquake i was dehydrated,
for my second i was thirsty. after my third
the german shepherd in the rental yard
poked his head through the torn screen,
wanting scraps, reward…he knew this appeal
would be strong after a survival: after trial,
            bounty; after fear, feast.
my reward? it’s coming. neon, seussical,
a nonsense with dull sticky tips, a nuisance
of fresh thickets caught in the green horse fleece,
an earwig on my only chocolate bar, a taxicab on the beach
and its driver’s three daughters, there for free,
                in sweatpants––
remembering the full rectangle of my potential,
i throw a pear pit from the ferry and pass
among lumps of island, dolphin. the andalusian
whitens and we’re reminded you can kill a wine
in barrel. meanwhile in the rental yard the dog
has a sheep’s leg. the hoof is there, attached,
but the wool and bone have parted ways:
gray wool in the house, blood on the grass,
ten actual sheep in an astonished group,
a green blanket aloft, and, lo, burrs.
         home alone with a nosebleed,
i empty a tricolor ice cream gallon and use it
to measure my loss. portia on the phone says
up to two quarts and you live. instead of thinking,
think about food…red spaghetti, a refreshing
terremoto, with pineapple sorbet and vodka and beer.
i’ll bear what i eat. it’ll wear strong. a boy
            kicks a shark head along
            the beach. his father says he doesn’t care
            what he becomes, as long as he becomes a captain.

Hannah Loeb is a poet & teacher living in Charlottesville, VA. She’s a PhD candidate in English at the University of Virginia, and she got her BA from Yale in 2012 and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2015. Her poetry has appeared in The Moth, Booth, Digging Through the Fat, Ninth Letter, American Chordata, and elsewhere.

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