Charleston Poem

Gabrielle Grace Hogan

People are pressing their faces and noses

against our windows. The beach is a cloud.

It’s full of bodies like a pair of pants.

I’ve misplaced my keys and your clean fingers.

Sarah says it’s not going to rain and the beach fills

with wet smoke. The pier is too hot to walk on

without losing my feet. At dusk, a pillowing oasis of blued sand

flutters like a small house knocked over by wind;

I am that house, and in every room is a beautiful girl

with your name. I am kissing frogs hoping they stay frogs.

I am a strawberry. I am trying to be the sweetest strawberry.

Once I was told a story about a woman who spent

her whole marriage looking into other people’s windows.

I think I am that woman. The visible and invisible

are not enemies, or opposites, but things that need

each other. It’s not raining until it’s raining.

Long after the beach has gone cold like food

left out, I want still to write only of desire, or of its

possibility, or of its absence, which is brighter

than its presence, in the way absences merely elucidate

necessity we’d likely already known. I want still to write

only of the crabs that root themselves like adjectives

in the sentence of the sand, of the frogs that don’t distinguish

between screaming and singing and talking, they are just

making noise into the velvet-hot night,

and if we cannot agree that that, too, is all we are

doing, then may mercy be given to us.



Headshot | Gabrielle Grace Hogan


GABRIELLE GRACE HOGAN (she/her) received her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has been published by or is forthcoming from TriQuarterly, CutBank, Salt Hill, Poetry Northwest, The Los Angeles Review, and others. She is the author of two chapbooks: Soft Obliteration (Ghost City Press, 2020) and Love Me With the Fierce Horse of Your Heart (Ursus Americanus, 2023). She has served as the Poetry Editor for Bat City Review, as well as the editor of You Flower / You Feast, an anthology of poetry and prose inspired by Harry Styles.

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