ARTicle Magazine

Three Poems by Hannah Mettner

14 July 2017

Hannah Mettner by Matt Bialostocki

Photo by Matt Bialostocki

Hannah's first book Fully Clothed and So Forgetful (VUP) is out now.


for R, K, J

Version one

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.

Version two

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.

Version three

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.

Version four

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.

Living Alone 

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.

Fully Clothed and So Forgetful