Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Dear Empire [these are your guns]


These are your guns. They aim elsewhere. Through clouds. Through fog. Elsewhere there are also pine trees. The spines of the needles fall in sharp clouds when it rains. But the artillery does not know this. And therefore, it must be imagined.


Therefore, the artist takes her brush and paints the cliffs in a way that expresses their joy. Therefore the artist sets to make something beyond a paper understanding. To make certain the pines are understood. That the kindnesses of childhood echo in a hail of gunfire.


Yet the tide seeks to take it all back. The passive bodies of jellyfish surrender themselves to movement. To gravity. To life in someone else’s music.

Oliver de la Paz is the author of three collections of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, and Requiem for the Orchard. He is the co-author of A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Persona Poetry and co-chair of the Kundiman advisory board. He teaches at Western Washington University.