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Prayer to Where the Missing Socks Go || Hannah Fishburn

by Hannah Fishburn

There are times when I have to be ruthless:

Everything contaminated goes in the burn pile

and so does everything else just in case.

I have something like a narrative

that I prune,

and prune and prune

until I give up the ghost.

Then I don’t have it anymore.

But I don’t know where it went:

Not in the dustpan with the trimmings

from the rosebush.

I search with the morbid fascination

of an appendectomy patient

emerging from the operating theater

holding a dubious little jar.

You would call me gross

for asking to keep the organ

but I think it’s sad

I have to ask,

that I could be denied

flesh that was part of me

until someone went at it with scissors.

I feel around the empty hole where it was

and cut my tongue on new tooth’s edge.

The thing that comes next is sneaky

and terrible, it’s half here already

but we won’t get a good look until we’ve fled

and can see it from a distance.

Something little like roadkill

blooms into a dust storm

behind all the running people.

I could have saved a lot of trouble

in Biblical Babel

by reminding them of the other common tongue.

The feeling you get when you’re in your parents’ neighborhood

And see an ambulance with the lights on.

The water rising and your kids can’t swim.

You can’t swim.

It’s how you got into your own head

the last time you went to church and never went back.

Were you thinking about

the thing you can’t take back

you said to someone special?

But that isn’t what I wanted to say.

It’s getting dark again and my grim mood

is ruining the good day, at the ocean.

You say

most people don’t find that sort of thing

very agreeable.


I pick sand out of my shorts. It’s in my teeth.


My mouth is gritty.

Well I never agreed to any of it,

that was the point 

I failed to make.

But now you’re skipping rocks and the fireworks have begun.

Look at you. 

The kind of person

who claps during the finale.

I’m sorry the fear didn’t grow me

and that I’m shrinking still.

It’s a goddamn graveyard in here.


Hannah is a young writer and artist in Maine. She writes poetry and short stories with unusual perspectives exploring themes of human nature, tragedy, and change. She draws inspiration in her writing and art from the mundanity of everyday life and relationships, woven into the fabric of the larger challenges posed in a modern world. She hopes to continue pursuing her interest in the experimental craft of short fiction. When she isn't chewing on the keyboard, she's eating oil paint.


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