April Poet Profiles: Trish Hopkinson

Trish Hopkinson has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. She has two chapbooks Emissions and Pieced Into Treetops and has been published in several anthologies and journals, including Stirring, Chagrin River Review, and The Found Poetry Review. Trish is co-founder of a local poetry group, Rock Canyon Poets. She is a product director by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow her poetry adventures here. Today she offers three poems. Click on the first two titles to hear Trish read her work, and click on the third title to see the artwork that inspired it.

Waiting Around

It so happens, I am tired of being a woman.
And it happens while I wait for my children to grow
into the burning licks of adulthood. The streaks
of summer sun have gone,

drained between gaps into gutters,
and the ink-smell of report cards and recipe boxes
cringes me into corners. Still I would be satisfied
if I could draw from language
the banquet of poets.

If I could salvage the space in time
for thought and collect it
like a souvenir. I can no longer
be timid and quiet, breathless

and withdrawn.
I can’t salve the silence.
I can’t be this vineyard
to be bottled, corked,
cellared, and shelved.

That’s why the year-end gapes with pointed teeth,
growls at my crow’s feet, and gravels into my throat.
It claws its way through the edges of an age
I never planned to reach

and diffuses my life into dullness—
workout rooms and nail salons,
bleach-white sheets on clotheslines,
and treacherous photographs of younger me
at barbecues and birthday parties.

I wait. I hold still in my form-fitting camouflage.
I put on my strong suit and war paint lipstick
and I gamble on what’s expected.
And what to become. And how
to behave: mother, wife, brave.

Footnote to a Footnote

Jacuzzis are holy.
Garage door openers are holy.
Back-up cameras and recycle bins—all holy.
Putting the red flag up on the mailbox, waving at the elderly
getting my toes wet with dew—holy, holy, holy.
Keeping my eyelids open and trying to sleep like fish,
signing my name with less letters and more scribbles,
counting crows feet, counting yellow toenails,
counting haircuts, counting plucked whiskers,
counting constantly.
Bookshelves are holy.
Missing dust covers are holy,
magicians and black and white T.V. shows,
Penn Jillette theories and Andy Griffith justice,
Uncle Walt songs and Ginsberg poems—holy, holy, holy.
Drinking beer before noon, drinking liquor right after,
drinking it warm (or on ice) with a friend (or not).
Waking up drunk, waking up sober,
waking up tired, waking up hungry,
waking—always holy.
Table wine is holy.
Candle sticks are holy,
dishwashers and cloth napkins,
the folk art cricket made from wire and a railroad nail,
rock salt from the salt flats in a salt cellar—holy, holy, holy.
Opening an empty cedar chest to still moths and crumbs,
staring at stretched cobwebs immersed in the sun,
swallowing nests, swallowing nectar,
swallowing chimes, swallowing saliva,
swallows—always holy.
Self-portraits are holy.
Ceramic urns also are holy.
Tape recorders and keyboards,
drawing pads and gold-plated ball-point pens,
calligraphy and stipple—holy, holy, holy.
Unfolding a letter, unfolding a chair, unfolding
into downward dog, from child’s pose, into corpse pose.
Picking apricots, picking green grapes,
picking out a husband, a shower curtain,
selection—always holy.
Twist-off caps, dresser drawers, remote controls,
carpeted stairs, revolving doors, product recalls,
keycodes, passwords,
restaurant reservations,
last-minute invitations,
cell phones, voice recognition,
land minds, and secrets—holy,
holy word, holy water, holy book,
holy soap boxes, bathtubs, soap dishes—holy,
holy drains and draining, empty.

Eurydice’s Cardinal

Mornings are when it hurts most,
like bruising wind bending
the horizon sideways.

Lying on my side, the sunrise twists
in the window, the glare reaches
to the right and into the dawn.

This is the storm before the calm,
the waking state that splits you
from me. You turned to see

me, a step too soon and my organs
plummeted, brick-heavy and distant
into the depths of the mundane.

I sleep through it all, but it’s only at night
you visit me in visions. You come
as a cardinal, your crimson

wings striking against the dark, your heart
behind you, trailing morsels
of tenderness lost.

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