With Stones As Their Witness 

There was no sawdust littering the yard
nobody wearing anybody’s grandmother’s ring
no one creaking the bed
getting up for a dreaming piss

One time a table faced in papers
a saxophone wooing next door      Once
a candlewick bedspread the jack pines
corroborating gently the deed

which the details didn’t describe
but only arranged       which was not illicit
but wholly unmappable

They were doing their time but never getting to the end

Someone held someone else through a novel of tombs
somebody’s imagination loomed nimbus large
someone kept theirs low
to the ground a shrub flowering one week a year

Who fit who into which record?

The script couldn’t stop unfolding around
the most unremarkable cairns      which held no light
when the public looked
for the rumored

sweet arcana

Ritual for a Door

Notes to self, menthol cellophane,
leaves of dead fern

twitching in my hands.

The propped window glancing
over the dog-eared scene:

Never mind the radio spittle.
Never mind the telephone

shivering on my leg. Your
strangeness coming near—

How long this longest
blink before my debut?

The splintered jamb
prodding. My future,

a shimmering threat.

How fast I knifed
open a realm

and it angled
into me.

Softly Undercover

Can’t star in the play
because the plot has upset me.

Can’t light your little mirror
when my blood shows on your face.

No more trying; this
time travel      insane—

Kicked open the door
and there it was

Your wish: a marquee.
My wish:

unremarkable. One
gapless morning

at the nadir,
a warm lake.

But to shine beams within
reveals what hangs around

the edge      an aura      of stones
a cartoon ray      of thorns.

Can’t be new
but I’ve learned

to go
softly undercover

bad faith
suspended from

darkness to darkness to—

Hanae Jonas’ poems have appeared or are forthcoming in jubilat, Birdfeast, H_NGM_N, The Volta, DIAGRAM, and other journals. She is a Kundiman fellow and an MFA candidate at the University of Michigan.