"Poem for Hannah"
"Poem for Hannah"
A weekly poem, read by the author.
March 31 2009 7:45 AM

"Poem for Hannah"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Matthew Zapruder read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes..

The tiny bee on its mission
died before it felt a thing. Its
body rested for a moment
on the railing of my sunny
porch in California. Then
wind took it away. You
are an older sister now so
it's true the world owes you
massive reparations. Also
you have special alarm
pheromones implanted
in your nose that explode
with phacelia distans
i.e. wild heliotrope each time
what they say will happen
turns out to be a compendium
of what can never exactly
be. Today the electric bus
full of humans listening
through tiny flesh-colored
earbuds to the music news
or literature perfectly calibrated
to their needs kneels before
the young man in his gleaming
black wheelchair. Inside
green laboratories experiments
in the realm of tiny particles
are being for our vast benefit
completed. Already I can see
the same little wrinkle I have
appearing on your brow.
You were born to feel a way
you don't have a word for.


Matthew Zapruder is the author of three collections of poetry. His newest, Come On All You Ghosts, will appear this fall. He has received a William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. An editor for Wave Books and a member of the permanent faculty in the low residency MFA program at UC Riverside-Palm Desert, he lives in San Francisco.