Two poems by Maggie Rue Hess

I Haven’t Written a Good Poem in Just About Ever

but I’ve been composed of palm
lines and kissed a breath

into the neck of love. Sugar cubes
passed between these teeth made

for lips and freckles. Don’t you dare
me with those shoulders – I’ve crossed

their bridge and you mine. My bones
turned silver with warmth then dissolved

into petals. They landed on your ache
a perfume of touch. I took notes,

left them in your pockets and drawers,
and wrote from memory.

In Response to Some Lines She Posted Long After I Left

“I stepped back, and I turned around,
and I walked down through the rhododendron
and never looked back.”
-Charles Wright

I know what that must have felt like – 
a heartbeat wrapped in petals, pulling layers
away from a confused dream. I know

how it is to leave without needing your shoulders
to tell you you’ve arrived. I
know that I never showed you a garden,

only a bed
where we could have had rhododendrons.


Maggie Rue Hess is a graduate student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she indulges in many lattes and even more books. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, The Minnesota Review, Connecticut River Review, and Backchannels, among others.