Three Poems by Hannah Mettner
14 July 2017
Hannah's first book Fully Clothed and So Forgetful (VUP) is out now.
for R, K, J
Our American dresses don’t blend in too well. Laura Ashley flowers
and lace collars and smocked bodices hiding down the mossy side
of the house, away from the drip of the down-pipe. Or high in the
honeysuckle tree with seedpods stuck to our knees. Or coffining
under the back verandah into the dusty smell of our biblical
beginnings, holding our collective breath. We look like angels
hiding from our father. We don’t want to go to church.
We are calling in the new year by stomping old grapes under our
feet. Drinking overpriced Scrumpy and smuggled KGBs with
our arms linked like the folding paper dolls we used to make. We
never dreamed of party dresses like these, sequins burning through
the fire-worked night. The people around us think they’re seeing
double, doubled. We clear a path right to the front of the stage.
Our best dresses are at the beach throwing red petals at the sea. One
of us throws a whole bunch without looking and the rest of us run
from it. The sand darkens with wet confetti except for the light-
shadows behind us where we have stopped the rain. Because this is
the first time in years we’ve all smiled at the same time, everyone
has their cameras out.
We don’t see each other much even though we still look like each
other a lot. We could swap clothes if we lived close enough, but we
don’t like the same things anymore. When I get dressed up it’s to
go out without you all. Let’s go back to our dress-up box. I miss the
particularities of your faces and the ways we might still be the same.
I don’t know if I can stay while you are still so technically here.
There is enough of your skin, living by
intention, in the carpet, the cushions, the bed we shared again
and again, that I could construct you
completely, down to the flare of your eyelashes, and explain
the orbital transit of our hearts making an infinite pattern
around and around each other when we dance.
The house is a casket laced with you
a pattern of drawing-pin holes in our walls
the vestal tiles, the way the windows have ceased to confide.
Schrödinger’s pink corduroy miniskirt
Buying clothes online is just like the famous thought
experiment about cats, which are also something I like.
You see an item of clothing, a pink corduroy miniskirt
for example, and you imagine how it’ll make you look—
your winter-white legs emerging from under it
strong and unspotted. Or how it’ll make you feel—
like a child, almost, confident and optimistic. You could
still be a happy person who has good legs, with this skirt.
You take your measurements and wait for the mail
which is a thing you don’t have any patience for at all.
In that 7–10 day delivery period (which is usually
longer) both you and the skirt both exist and don’t.
The skirt might arrive and fit perfectly, you might become
that happy, long-legged girl who is also not afraid
of her femininity. You might become Liv Tyler
in Empire Records, you might buy black diamond
nail polish, you might move to an apartment in Paris
with parquet floors and a claw-foot bath
and a balcony with potted herbs. You might fall in love.
Which is another paradox of waiting. When you are getting
to know someone, you’re just getting to know them—
you’re not necessarily falling in love. But, by the time
you realise you love them, it’s already happened.
What if it’s already happened and I’m too busy buying
clothes on the internet to wear next time I see you
to notice that it’s happening? We’ll look back one day
and you’ll be like that’s when I knew and I’ll be like
that’s when I was waiting for my pink corduroy miniskirt to arrive.