A bride and groom, illustration for May poem by Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick

Poem: ‘I Could Have a Thousand Husbands’


A version of this story ran in the May 2016 issue.

Each one, a trail in the forest of drugged
limbs as their heads question everything
their mothers told them. Witness
a dance in the flood as feet make way
back to boyness again. Against my back,
a place to eat while bent on knees, I call
them their true name, finally. We listen
to what our bodies say to each other—
not of loneliness, but of a real & wild rite.

Or maybe I’d choose just one, turn my god-
dess face toward him like the sun & back
to me, a swimming rope in summer, he’d
swing toward the one place I forgot once
knew the depths of him as one knows
how to answer the first sound of water.

Why choose only one, being a man & lonely
after walking the length of Spain? Why not
call every mother who raised you & ask for
their daughters, even if not born. Souls
are said to come to earth when a glimmer
catches their eye & man in his wandering
has made a body for this coming-home.

[Featured image by Danny Fulgencio.]