Sully Writes Haiku


Photo by Sean Dreilinger

Sully Writes Haiku

about exercise pants. My friend
watches strangers, notes their
pants, runs the syllables out
from under her. She dashes off
haikus at the DMV. About license
plates, the things they say.
At the doctor’s office. About
the doctor’s office. We are laughing
when she tells me about the poems.
Sully wants a haiku war while we sit
side-by-side at the vet, waiting
for her two pet pigs to be neutered.

Another way you have ruined me.
After Sully, who always hated you,
I am home with only the dog
in the wide bed, trying to make
a poem. I type drunken and your last
name appears. You survive
in the language. The train whistle
sounds haunted. In the trees,
a brisk wind ruffles. My memory
twins with a digital one,
stubborn and inscrutable.

In Sully’s room, the pigs are sleeping.
For days, they will feel lust even
though the origin of it has been excised.
My vocabulary is risky with encryptions.
I delete viciously. Other things I write,
you will correct. How long will it take
for us not to default to a mistake. If only
ablation. Erosion. Surgical removal.
If only ghosts could melt
under atmospheric pressure
until absolute zero: no heat.

But we know the opposite is true. We
increase our most secret desires
by desiring them. I want only to write
poems at the gym about exercise
pants. Three lines about losing sex
by knife. But what endures, without me
writing it, is your last name, again.


Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams is the recipient of the Whiting Award for her book The Man Who Danced with Dolls and her memoir-in-progress, The Following Sea. She has also been awarded the Rona Jaffe National Literary Award and a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship. Her work has most recently appeared in the Oxford American, the Pinch, Southern Humanities Review, Carolina Quarterly, Mayday Magazine, Flash Fiction, and elsewhere.