So Maybe It’s True (and other poems)

So Maybe It’s True

poetry doesn’t make you a better person, 
and the news that can be found there
is like some gone week’s Sunday Times
tossed in its clear green wrapper
beneath the neighbor’s car.
The one who died
and no one came to find him,
and you didn’t knock on his door
when his trashcan of carryout chicken and ribs
sat spilling its own kind of news.
But, oh, to live awhile as marrow
in someone else’s bones,
to breathe her breath upon the mirror 
held up to your life,
doesn’t it make you want 
to fling open whatever door you come to,
doesn’t it make you want to try?

Things I Would Never Say in a Poem

I love you. I love you more. I love you to the moon and back without at least a whiff of rocket fuel and powdered Tang for the journey. And too, I would have said that Tang would never be in any poem of mine, but there it is. The way my dead mother a lifetime ago plopped the top from a jar of it onto a lidless orange teapot because it fit. The way my husband every morning of our marriage states the moreness of his love with such conviction we were five years in, at least, before it dawned on me the phrase had not originated with him. And dawn without a streak of orange scratched through blueblack sky? Not in my poem. This poem, though, has its own way of saying what it wants to, of taking any old thing and not even trying to make it new. It’s not a competition. My husband says that too, and so I let him win. That’s how much I love you, I say.


The Old French,
	how well they understood 
the danger
	of outside looking in:
			videre from weid, "to see," 
	at the green root
of all wisdom
	and wit, invidious or otherwise,
of twit and video, 
	our kaleidoscopic view.
One of 		the seven 
		the ten 
	shall nots.

Dante’s purgatorial eyes 
wired shut.

Cain over Abel,
	the Towers of Babel
			and Trump—only pride
more weights the soul.

The evil eye is cast,
from the head
that wears the crown.



  • Pauletta Hansel’s eighth poetry collection is Friend: Epistolary Poems Written in the Early Days of the Pandemic. Her writing has been featured in Oxford American, Rattle, Appalachian Journal, Still: The Journal and One, among others. Pauletta was Cincinnati’s first Poet Laureate (2016-2018), and is past managing editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the journal of the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative.

  • In 1624, Giovanni Battista Bracelli—an Italian engraver and painter working in Florence—produced an extraordinary book of prints titled Bizzarie di Varie Figure (Oddities of various figures). Its forty-seven plates show a variety of human figures mainly interacting in pairs, their bodily forms composed of a range of objects, mostly abstract—cubes, interlocking rings, and squares—but also such things as rackets, screws, braided hair, and the natural forms of trees. From Public Domain Review.