The earth tallies our losses: abacus
of ancient bone emerges out of rock,
layers of snow compress deep in glacial lakes:
blank blue ledger, millennia of falling.
Even now fault-lines fracture canyons, gouges
like scores in a bed-post. So much passage
is documentation, our need for proof
and percentages. Objects left behind
are evidence, though of what we can’t be sure:
receipts forgotten in a pocket; letters
pressed in books; empty vials stashed in drawers.
Consider how the tide’s turning rearranges
everything. In a stack of blurry pasts I count
his faces, none as I remember it.
Elizabeth Hazen is a poet, essayist, and teacher. A Maryland native, she came of age in a suburb of Washington, D.C. in the pre-internet, grunge-tinted 1990s, when women were riding the third wave of feminism and fighting the accompanying backlash. She began writing poems when she was in middle school, after a kind-hearted librarian handed her Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind. She has been reading and writing poems ever since.
Hazen’s work explores issues of addiction, mental health, and sexual trauma, as well as the restorative power of love and forgiveness. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, American Literary Review, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, The Threepenny Review, The Normal School, and other journals. Alan Squire Publishing released her first book,
Chaos Theories, in 2016. Girls Like Us is her second collection. She lives in Baltimore with her family.