Michael Burkard
Hat Angel

What could she say? Little money,

little chance for work, a drunk for

a husband she no longer lover,

and now she leaves her winter hat

on the train. Trains feel vast.

Devon's room—not so vast. But it

doesn't move, so she's sitting

there before he comes home smashed

and angry, or maybe he will just

fall down. She reads a few pages

of a book half-backwards. A

hopeless attempt to snap to, to

have something in this life pull

her out of this, like the moon,

the moon's a puller. Like the train:

the train's a puller of forgetfulness

and power and destination far into

the reaches of the forests. What

could she say? Oh she can talk to

herself, but now she's got to get

out, and words won't do this. Al-

most as it words make you stay more.

She doesn't even have a hat to reach

for so can she make the door? Oh

prayer for the hat to be a puller

for her even as it circles the city

or enters someone else's flat, hat

have an arm to keep her from his fist,

moon and train, moon and train, moon

and train: pull her, pull her, pull her.


Found In Volume 27, No. 05
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  • Michael Burkard
Michael Burkard
About the Author

Michael Burkard teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.  Among his books are My Secret Boat (W.W. Norton), Unsleeping (Sarabande Books), and Pennsylvania Collection Agency (New Issue Press).  His poems appear in Bat City Review, Parakeet, and 88.