Message to Be Spoken into the Left Ear of God – Dennis Hinrichsen

Message to Be Spoken into the Left Ear of God – Dennis Hinrichsen

Message to Be Spoken into the Left Ear of God - Dennis Hinrichsen
Paper, perfect bound, 42 pp
$8.50 plus s&h
2004, ISBN 0-932412-26-2

Christine Hume comments:
“For Hinrichsen, paradox is a way of knowing. He enacts this philosophical stance in the quick yet attentive movement of his lines…. Hinrichsen’s unhinged singing lets momentum have its way. Yet we are moved in the old sense–by empathy.”

Message to Be Spoken into the Left Ear of God
by Dennis Hinrichsen

This is the child drowning: face-up in an amniotic pool of tap water:
my crucible, liquid garment; eyes spanked open in the rocking

inches of light.
Above me: my mother’s face torn, her print dress blown

to flame, refraction making me seem—at least to her, looking down—
a macrocephalic—

like those in the ward my sister was rubied to when a neighbor
rammed her straight down hard—bumper to hip—to the packed snow

of Dolores Avenue,
branches scarring the dome of sky like the cracks in her

skull, or like the veins in the policeman’s face when he jumped
downstream into chunks

of ice to catch a neighbor girl like a toy Ophelia. Her body
in his pale blue arms as limp and blue as grief, her

coat tails dripping
above the streaming current. Tadpole—minnow—knife blade—

tag of flesh—layer of bone—my father’s face finally astonished,
finally raised—

forehead piercing a nail angling from a joist. Oh, these crucifixions
staining the fingers, tasting of raw sewage, fish,

cicadas like a giant
rust in the trees, 40,000 ticking Geigers, and not one rock

to set them off; rather, as if our bones in sleep were their decaying
mineral, the

marrow gone soft, gone nuclear. The way the heart shrinks, and
veins go flat as dying rivers. Or twist in swirls of blue elastic.

The bath water drawn,
the liquid steaming, melting the crude metals just beginning

to line the child’s brain, hair drifting in the gentle
slosh. The body—

pale, naked, wingless. How I hovered once like a sea-
horse in my mother’s womb. And then dropped out screaming.

Dennis Hinrichsen is the author of several previous collections of poems published by Wesleyan University Press , Galileo, and University of Akron Press. He won the Akron Poetry Prize in 1999. He lives and teaches in Lansing, Michigan.