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Hannah Stephenson


Point B

Little Red

Point B

This is up. This is North. This is the map
and how it insists for you to follow.
Without directions, the cool gust of air
means North, raucous birdsong means
West. I have stopped for directions
even when I knew where I was heading
just to be sure. Swaths of highway offer
the same gifts as you pass them, year
after year, but this does not mean they
are any less valuable. The sign about
milk. The toppled over treehouse.
The billboard is not the thought bubble
of the land. The land won’t even dignify
the billboard with a response, it can speak
of casinos or Cracker Barrel or even yell
that Hell Is Real, and the grass rolls
its eyes, abides, levelheaded. The way of
the human is fraught with journeys,
the land does not envy us this.
The Grand Canyon knows that the self
extends far beyond the body, that absence
is the most unifying truth even though
our eyes and whole heads struggle with it,
old news, ancient news, pushed aside
so we can figure out where in the hell
we parked the car.


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Little Red

Snarl in the wind
and a murmur,

over here, over here

Heavy basket
and those strange flowers
leading up and over the hill

Arched foliage,
door frames of trunk and branch calling out
for her to bring her body beneath them

She feels
she is being watched

Willingly does she go
among those quiet flowers
and sit, fingers in the flowers

to watch the world blink
off, as if summoned to another room


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Hannah Stephenson is a poet, editor, and instructor living in Columbus, Ohio (where she also runs a monthly literary event series called Paging Columbus). Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Hobart, Poetry Daily, and The Nervous Breakdown; her collection, In the Kettle, the Shriek, is available from Gold Wake Press. You can visit her online at The Storialist (

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