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Pat Hanahoe-Dosch

SONY DSCPat Hanahoe-Dosch earned an MFA from the University of Arizona. Her poems have been published in The Paterson Literary Review, Rattle, The Atticus Review, Panoplyzine, Confrontation, Conjunctions, Rust + Moth, American Literary Review, Apple Valley Review, The Red River Review, San Pedro River Review, Apt, among many others. Her books of poems, The Wrack Line, and Fleeing Back, can be found on or the FutureCycle Press website. Check out her website at
and Twitter @PHanahoeDosch


The missing spaces pile up,
refuse to shudder down.

The tongue still wants
to press where the pulled tooth
abandoned its post,
unable to accept the solid barrier’s absence.

Dirt still presses in and down, around
the dug up roots in the backyard.
Their paths refuse to be filled in.

Fence rails droop into a missing board’s
invisible lines. Support gone, gravity pulls them down.

Your t-shirts crumple and wrinkle
in boxes. When I wear one,
it parachutes around my smaller shoulders.

Something knocks on the inside of your empty suitcase.

Even mice can’t abide so much absence.


This is the in-between night:

My brother stands in the kitchen, dripping
sea water in a puddle on the floor.
He wants to know what happened
to his oxygen tanks, his mask.
I tell him I don’t know.
I don’t know what happened to him, either,
only that he is one of the missing,
a name on flyers, a police report claiming a scuba diving
accident, eventually to be forgotten
utterly, without even a grave.
But not yet. Not by me.

My sister prowls the living room,
looking for a finger, a foot, an arm.
She searches under and behind all
furniture, even the TV, limping
and pushing with stumps and holes
that don’t bleed. Almost all her bones
are broken, so she wobbles and teeters.
She doesn’t know her parts are buried
with her, scraped from what was left
of her car. This is what is left of me:

in the morning, a burned out
stump of candle, a pumpkin,
and three glasses of wine
to welcome the sunrise. My ghosts
do not disappear.

Letting Go

Here are your hands
that bathed us, cooked our dinners,
hugged us, cleaned toilets,
slapped our faces, shook in rage, gripped
in fists of frustration, but
slowly grew swollen, fingers gnarled
with arthritis, stiff, as painful
as letting children grow.

May these hands become
feathered wings, air and bone,
light and wind. May they
bear you into morning
like the swans in the fairy tale
you used to read us
before sleep, so our dreams
would bear us through the night
on feathered backs.

May morning embrace us all
like a prince meeting his true love;
may our lives be
the remedy to your frustrations,
the fairy godmother’s spell
rewoven so that neither the queen
nor the king is afraid
to ride into the sunset, alone,
as we all must, eventually, ever after.
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