It Was Alive, Though Differently

By Hannah Gamble Hannah Gamble
It had a secret name
which in later years came to mean
I will continue to stand here.
It had a food mouth
and a shrieking mouth.
Popular wisdom indicated
that Its hands could heat stones
and that a man could cook
meat on those stones.
That being said,
It had a poverty hand
and a riches hand.
They were
the same hand.
A little ways above the hands
the mouths spoke together
but for two
different reasons,
like the music was behaving
but the orchestra was broken.
Even in less
benevolent moments,
It was known to use Its own
body as a tent and as the gifts
inside of the tent.
Early people said It had a mother hand
and a father hand, and that together
they made a clapping sound.
Its hands delivered the children
from madness.
The hands saw the riverbank sliding
into the river
to make
a more shallow river.
They scooped the mud up.
The hands were giving thanks.
The hands smelled like exodus.
The hands were the law.
One hand grew older, and the other
hand younger.
They said, fairly often,
We’d like to try that again.
Both were restless
and wanted rest.
One hand said, I will go where you go,
while the other hand continued
on alone.

Hannah Gamble, "It Was Alive, Though Differently" from Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast, published by Fence Books. Copyright © 2012 by Hannah Gamble.  Reprinted by permission of Hannah Gamble.

Source: Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast (Fence Books, 2012)

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Poet Hannah Gamble

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Life Choices, The Body, Time & Brevity

Poetic Terms Metaphor

 Hannah  Gamble


Hannah Gamble is the author of Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast (2012), selected by Bernadette Mayer for the 2011 National Poetry Series. She has received fellowships from InPrint Inc, The Edward F. Albee Foundation, and the University of Houston, where she served as an editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. Gamble has been a guest on podcasts such as Radio Free Albion with Chicago poet Tony Trigilio . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, The Body, Time & Brevity

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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