Three Poems

Shannon Hardwick

Where He Goes I Hear Hooves


Last night I wrote about a boy
on the side of the highway selling
sweet apples from the earth unaware
his father, already drunk at noon,
twisted his mom’s wrist like the neck
of the first rabbit they killed together 
one October near the draw of CR 1230
where his brother once ripped open
a case of Coors before hitting the only
tree in his life as he exited the field & 
how maybe their parents grew more 
complicated & how anger at the world 
can reach a point as thin as a wrist, how 
turning another to pain is communication.

This is what I think about when the man 
I’m afraid of falling for tells me he wants
to see my face when he helps my body 
understand how the world can give me
apples dipped in fire, a cannonball both 
dangerous and gentle—the way a horse 
exits the gate of the field where it once felt 
safe, now looks only at the mountain & runs.



The Time I Sailed a Boat Through a Pinkie’s Liquor Store


Trying to write about it is like the time I tried to catch 
a fish with my father in the olive green boat, one red
oar & the gun on the bankside remembered me, 
body over the edge, watching for something 
to take hold. He said I probably wouldn’t 
catch anything on the first day. Maybe a sunfish, 
or small-mouth bass. Would it hurt to hold it, 
would I know what to do to keep it from slipping 
off the boat. Maybe I wouldn’t want to do anything 
at all. Nothing. Then more of it. Then a movement. 
He said, Here, hold it. I felt the pull go through me,
wanted more control, less, almost let go before 
remembering. My hands & the gun on the banks 

earlier in the day, the first time to hold something 
so unpredictable. When I pulled the trigger 
I almost fell over, wanted more so shot again, 
& again, I asked to shoot it. Small body somehow 
larger. This is how I’d write about the moment 
you were the fish, or was I—didn’t matter. 
We were in a liquor store, moving through 
the isles like two kids who didn’t want anything 
but more time. Then I lost you for a moment, 
walked back & forth before turning to see you
weave through the American & Canadian 
whiskey Isle. Oh this, I thought, after my body
leapt stomach first off the edge of the boat.


I Have Leapt Off the Boat & This is What That Looks Like


Three hours after you left, my body still 
remembers receiving yours, as a body 
of water & a boat, leaving wakes as I sleep, 

or try to—into the space your face was 
this morning in a light I’ve tried to write 
before, possibilities & an opening-up 

through curtains as I study the shapes 
before me before you open your eyes & 
catch the look. Will you turn over, pretend 

sleep. Will you look back, as one reaches 
into the water over a boat moving fast enough 
to sting the hand yet make brilliant splashes 

& like a true fisherman, lift the heart-fish 
out of me, dissect the body in the sun, 
hold it to the fire & make it taste good 

to your mouth. Because I want to be fed 
as much as I want to feed whatever it is
you need. To know I love someone & it’s you.






 About the Writer
Split Lip Magazine

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her first full-length book, Before Isadore, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications. She is an associate poetry editor for The Boiler Journal. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the following: Salt Hill, Stirring, Versal, The Texas Observer, Devil's Lake, Four Way Review, among others. Hardwick also has chapbooks out with Thrush Press and Mouthfeel Press. She writes in the deserts of West Texas.