POEM OF THE WEEK: Erin Adair-Hodges

Erin Adair Hodges


Self-Portrait as Banshee


The then-boyfriend driving my car back from Vegas

hits an elk outside of Gallup, twilight bruising the cliffs,

and we spin around just once before the ditch opens

to take us, “Superfreak” the soundtrack to the splintering,


and a twang in white socks stops to perform his human

duties, saying he saw us clip the buck’s ass but it up and ran,

 you didn’t get to keep the horns or nothing. So for months


I bus to work though scores of questionably intentioned men

stop to ask if I need a ride, the daily slide up to the curb

and chivalric offering of lances. Sirs! I am the direct descendant

of Robert the Bruce, Scottish king, liberator from English


tyranny! Lords of Annandale and Spennithorne! They

were born in Highland castles and I am sitting on gum! Oh,

sad apple. Switchblade men size me up for a bite. Wasn’t I born


on this bus, or have I not been born yet? Is this the blood tunnel into

my becoming, or out of it? For someone alive I am good at death—

not the elk but everything else, the boys I touched to dust.

When I love you I see your bones, the stones


around your name, and I learn what I am for, not to long for

but to warn, to throat out some keening over the city,

diaphanous and combing my long red hair.





Erin Adair-Hodges is the 2016 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize winner for Let’s All Die Happy, to be published as part of the Pitt Poetry Series in October 2017. She has been named as a Bread Loaf-Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholar in Poetry, Sewanee-Claudia Emerson scholar, and winner of the 2014 Loraine Williams Prize from The Georgia Review. A native New Mexican, Erin is now a visiting assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Toledo.

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