November 21-27, 2022: Poetry from Cameron Morse and Brandon Hansen

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Cameron Morse

Cameron Morse (he, him) is Senior Reviews editor at Harbor Review and the author of eight collections of poetry. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His book of unrhymed sonnets, Sonnetizer, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. He holds an MFA from the University of Kansas City-Missouri and lives in Independence, Missouri, with his wife and three children. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Cameron Morse and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Swing

The delicate landing
of a leaf of all life on Earth is
slight and precarious

the delighted laughter of my
swinging daughter in the pull-up
with the hood slipping off

her amber head in boisterous
October wind and sun
on the only green planet in sight.

My hand has only a second to flip
the fallen hood back
over her forehead before she throws

it off again gravity laughing
and time the tinkle of the painted chain
that carries her up and down.

Brandon Hansen

Brandon Hansen is from a village in northern Wisconsin. He studied writing along Lake Superior, and then trekked out to the mountains, where he earned his MFA as a Truman Capote scholar at the University of Montana. His work has been Pushcart nominated, and can be found in The Baltimore Review, Quarterly West, Puerto Del Sol, and elsewhere.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Brandon Hansen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

In Montana a Gray Cat Sprints Two Blocks Down the Street

and into my apartment as if he’d always known me.
The door was only open long enough
to water my single cosmo, which never did flower
with the wildfire smoke that hazed
the sun orange like a bad pizza. 

I was on my own
for the first time in my life when Mardy
blurred past by my legs, Mardy who I named
for the song in my ears when he jumped on my desk
and tried to eat a candle.
Mardy Bum, which means
“moody guy,” which means for months
through smoke Mardy bounded
down the street and found his way to me –
sometimes he figure-eighted my legs and
chirped like a chickadee until I held him like a child,

but sometimes he’d have the face on, sometimes
he’d snap the jumbo-stuffed Temptations from my hand
and be out the door. On the porch, he’d give me a single blink.
The distant green his eyes are. How familiar. He’d turn
them from me and it’s like he flipped the channel,
every time I wanna say hey, I was watching that.

Bobbed tail down the road, black-splashed
smokey coat, Mardy smells like cinnamon.
He belongs to someone who smells like cinnamon. 

Like the breath of a friend back home, like the bread I baked that rose
when I used her recipe. There are days
Mardy can’t be arsed to turn from neighbor’s chickens
or a pinecone on a roll, days I forget to crack the door for him
at noon, days I miss my cinnamon friend and days, I think,
Mardy wishes his didn’t kick him out the door so soon.

But we find each other. They say the world is on fire,
but until I’m ashes I’ll remember Mardy, our cuddles
in the kitchen just to get things off the ground,
the round
of him on my unmade bed or a sweatshirt tossed
on the floor at day’s end. Glum times I lay next to him,
he opens those eyes and paws my lips as if to say
I think you’ll live, you bum. 

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