Hannah Gamble


and if one is running, all objects
appear blurry. I do not understand
how I see some movements of your face,

and not others. I know
in each flinch, you are telling me
something. I have forgotten what to ask

because now there is nothing but
questions. In an ocean, I can’t see
the drops of water and also,

not the salt. Once you described
my temperament as salty, and not
in a kind way. Similarly,

my nose is longer than yours
and I never knew to feel bad
about it. For I was born innocent

and stayed that way until only
recently. So I define innocence
in my own way and refuse to listen

to people who pay no attention
to how I like to be spoken to. I learned
to be demanding from the Lord, who asks

a lot of me. If I disappoint him, it is only
because at night, I’m too tired. It is at night
that the Lord wants my courage,

and he brings his creations to my door
to test me. I send them away
with words, but often I fear

that they will send me away
and live in my house where it’s warmer,
since the human home is the envy

of creation. We use our homes to advertise
our blessings. Yet creation does not feel blessed
and someone told me that’s our fault.

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. She teaches English at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and lives in Chicago.