Case of the Missing Woman
When I read the news report about the woman
who changed her outfit at a bus stop on a tour
of Iceland in a place that translates to “fire canyon”
who didn’t recognize the description of herself,
didn’t consider herself lost, and thus set out
with the search party in search of this mystery
woman, it called to mind that line from Dickinson
I am out with lanterns looking for myself
which wasn’t in a poem but a letter she wrote, vexed
because she moved, how she kept her senses in a hat—
like when you lose your keys, you lose your mind.
We lose ourselves in books, in October afternoons
on a spring evening, riding the train to Italy
sitting on a beach. The mind is here and there, frayed.
Of course, the letter reminds me of your mother,
who loves Dickinson. When she got her diagnosis
she asserts herself: Look for me. I will still be there.
Thank You Note
If the word riveting described a waterfall
instead of a plot printed on the back
of so many book jackets, maybe
my thanks could be effervescent
as a fallen soda can, contents under pressure.
Today my hopes are soaring, having climbed
up all the bits of bark in the trees, now
swinging in its branches and somehow
the wind blows and all the leaves
begin to clap. That applause is yours.
There’s no way to say it without
taking my heart out of its nesting box
to say: look, its wings are sprouting.
Look how alive it is. You did this.
Jaimee Hills is the author of How to Avoid Speaking which won the Anthony Hecht Poetry prize and was published by Waywiser Press in 2015. Her work has appeared in Verse Daily, Best New Poets, Ecotone, Blackbird, and elsewhere. She lives and writes in Milwaukee, WI. Her website can be found at www.jaimeehills.com.