i carry this house with me / because in me is this house
she wants horses, so young me
carefully glides the marker
across the ruler and builds
four walls for the stable,
an oval for the trough.
she works on the landscaping,
making comical lumps
that i imagine are rosebushes interspersed with wild chives
growing along the edge of our house.
she tries so hard to color
in between the lines while i create
rooms with glass walls
i carry this house with me
an 8th grader with shoulder-length blonde hair
walks down the hall with her hands
tucked into the straps of her backpack.
adolescent me has a new desire
to run my hands over her soft purple sweater.
my brother’s best friend comes out,
and i never learn what my brother says
or see ryan again.
i try to make sense of why i lie
when i say i’m not focused on her
through the scrambled snow on tv
erasing the line drawn between me and ryan.
my friend convinces me to kiss andy,
a sensation of his tongue and mine
settling for each other.
i long to dissipate in her cigarette smoke
to sense in myself something more
than abstractness or compulsion
when performance feels like survival.
in me is this house
My Body Is a Site of Contestation
I celebrated my tenth birthday only days ago, and now, in the checkout line of the Piggly Wiggly in Brandon, Mississippi, an old man stares at the tips of my newly grown breasts, soft pointed mounds I had thought very little of until this moment.
I stare back, studying the way his tee shirt cradles his gut and tucks into his cargo shorts. I am curious about this man, how he feels comfortable enough to suck his teeth and say to my mother, Well, looky here. You’ve got yourself a real Natalie Wood. My mother blushes before thanking him. When we get into the car, she angles the rearview mirror towards her and dabs just underneath her eyes with the edge of her shirt. You’ll need a brato avoid lewd men like him, she says. It was then I learned how the body can be consumed without teeth.
a poem in which i bear witness to our breaking
you press my palm on your chest this is
a request to consider the white space
in between our words what language cannot carry
to notice when i take in my hands
the thin red thread which on closer inspection
connects my palm to your chest pulses & thickens
i try to pluck it this interloper
when your eyes widen your body goes limp
i listen for your breath i lift your head
enough to check your pulse
to marvel at how your lips part
how the thread braids onto itself i consider this togetherness
our new agonizing truth give in to sleep but wake up
alone sensing loss
i pull our growth the end making its way
to me with a note haven’t you had enough
Son, Our Brains Can Only Understand Time As Now and Not Now
I know this is hard to understand
but think of it this way:
represents your life.
The not now
is the small pile of sand
your fingers have already sifted,
what your knees have already pushed.
It is every untouched granule, surrounding
you in nonlinear possibility.
But the now,
is the lone grain
stuck to the drool on your chin,
informed by all the rest,
as you make you way to the other side.
White Men in Brooklyn
White men in Brooklyn
Will let their dog piss on your
Leg and blame your pants
Bio: Michelle Hulan is a Brooklyn-based Canadian poet. She earned her MA in English from the University of Ottawa and spends her free time visiting every independently owned bookstore in New York City.