Three Poems from Linda Hillringhouse


Read More: A Brief Interview with Linda Hillringhouse

Amor Fati

It’s so hard to let go & get really scary
& say fuck whatever it was that fucked me,
but I am going to say it now,
I’m going to peek out my cave window
& finally say that there is a great ugliness
on the way & I fear it & know it & begot it
with the help & blessings of something
that meant no harm, was just empty
as a birdless sky,
nobody saying anything.
Somebody wearing clothes
gets buried or burned
& that’s the way things
get done around here.
This harmless thing
as empty as snow, this thing
came from something
that meant no harm
& the world meant nothing to it.
What if I could rush into its arms
& kiss its oily lips
& let it drag me into the woods
without a fight & still notice
how the leaves are not just trembling,
but trembling with exquisite agency.




Son of Sam

The voice coming from next door
to give meaning & direction
to the dying hole inside, the .44
caliber exploding a kiss, blowing
the kicks, spit & epithets
to kingdom come & the voice
all the time telling you
this action must take place
for it will cure & restore
the diseased trees, the shrunken fruit,
the rodent heart; it will remove
the gray thing from the apartment
in Yonkers, steady the tilting sky,
stay the hand of the father in Florida
fixing the ceiling fan for the new wife
& it will purify & rectify the earth
in which your mother with her dirt-filled
womb resides & all you have to do is listen
to the neighbor’s dog telling you exactly
what must be done to put things right.





At the Barcelona Zoo

I stood alone in front of Snowflake,
the albino gorilla: behind bars
as if he’d committed some genetic crime,
a bouquet of fists for a face – […]

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Linda Hillringhouse holds an MFA from Columbia University. She was a first-place winner of the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award (2014) and the second-place winner of Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry (2012). She has received fellowships from the Macdowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Paterson Literary Review, Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, and elsewhere.

Read More: A Brief Interview with Linda Hillringhouse