Jack Hanson

Long Lost, Long Gone

The evident image is of grief,
of the sharpness in the night, of loss.
Of what? From where? For whom?
How does this
pain trickle down from that hidden spring
of nights awake tossing through panic,
running to retch, tears clouding the edge
of the room at the thought of something gone?
How can the dam brooked only by death
suddenly crumble and let water
run, as if it never stood?
There is
always some loss, though, I suppose. Loss
of candor under fear of reproach.
Loss, too, of other fears, albeit
never night and what scuttles through it.
And yes, there is loss, too, of one’s friends,
even the ones who don’t die. But you
make good ones, who still call when they’ve seen
some story of bad luck, or even
just to say a long-unheard hello,
nothing much, you, and even ignore
your panic aroused by the upward
inflection, the question, the question
of loss, even a loss imagined.

If the river narrows at the bridge,
it widens at the fall. How much less,
the ache, when suffered through a fog, which
hovers like a friend
long lost, long gone.

Jack Hanson is contributing editor to Partisan and a graduate student at the University of Chicago. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bookslut, Full-Stop, The Hopkins Review, Open Letters Monthly, Partisan, The Scofield, and The Quarterly Conversation. @jehanson774