Why I Will Never Kiss You Again

Because wolves circled the greenhouse ceiling

Because it was midnight & we fought since dinner

Because I stood barefoot in the garden, mouth full of green

Because the child went wild for wolves & I could not name her

Because you demanded do it before she kept growing

Because I imagined where they didn’t bite, this world

Because if I kissed you the unnamed daughter had a beginning

Where we didn’t have to conjure her see-through bones

Where the body inside you doesn’t drink its weight in whiskey

Where the child is safe to wander the land of wolves, full grown

Where animals rescue us from the red flag we raised

Where the daughter we killed together weighs negative stone.

SHANNON ELIZABETH HARDWICK's work has appeared in Salt Hill, Versal, The Texas Observer, Devil's Lake, Four Way Review, Sugar House Review, Huffington Post UK, among others. A graduate from Sarah Lawrence College's MFA program, Hardwick serves as the poetry editor for The Boiler Journal and her first book of poetry, Before Isadore, was recently published by Sundress Publications.