Poetry by Sara Ryan

The Midnight Hour

In the out-of-focus photograph
of your face, I find the giraffes
humming in the inverse black
of the setting sun.

Your bones shift in your skin
like an old ship and the giraffes
sing in a chorus
of splintered wood—

their necks too long
and smooth for the bridging
of breath— steep tunnels
of blood, taciturn tongues.

In the hum, the guttural push
with sway of the trees, the desperate
rumble of a call home, mosaics
of skin, or sweeter green.

At night, when the humming begins,
I think of what you have given me—
I find an oil –worn apron,
a box of broken mugs, and pieces
of a small bird’s wing.

I am of the teeth of a fox, a hum
echoing through heavy doors.
When I pit a bowl of cherries, one by
one, I try to translate
what you say in your sleep.

The giraffes exhale in the deep night,
extending the hum—maybe to say
I am here, I am okay, have you found a safe
place to rest—
maybe to say they are dreaming, their necks
twisting up to the sky.

Sara Ryan is a first-year poetry MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University and an associate editor of poetry for Passages North. Her poetry has been published in Boxcar Poetry Journal, Bear Review, Jai-Alai Magazine, The Boiler Journal and various anthologies, and is also forthcoming from Crab Fat Magazine and Storm Cellar

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