Erin Adair-Hodges: A Murder of Librarians 
Yannick Pulver

Yannick Pulver

A Murder of Librarians 

                        for Amy

having suitably sucker-punched the night
the tequila talked off the table        we are back
to the stuff of our bones       we shove fists
into each other and pour lead into the dents
they make        it's true we exist        you say

it's a good idea to break a bottle, hold it like a crucifix          

if what we ward away would harm us, then that's evil alright

you say let's make some veins sing

all over el patio, mujeres thrum       their men dance before the end
of our stares, hyenaed       we take the women

two by two        pulling them into our betweens

letting their softness bully us
                        then we take the men 

you're barrel-walking and proud of my pockmarks
and suddenly the guns in our hands

have somewhere they need to be         the sky is laughable     

it doesn't know what dark is               the wind of me is older

than the name of here, and we own each other

i was here before the stars         

you shoot in the air                  the saddle between my legs works

like a miracle               we name our horses accordingly.
you start to feel like all the dirt in the world.

Seeing Ex-Boyfriends


Sometimes you see the young man you knew
inside the skin of this deflated one,

punk in pleats, bekhakied skater,
as if he has been drugged and eaten

by a mid-level manager not out of hunger
but rather boredom.

Sometimes, you look good, never better.
Mostly you do not.

Once, it is in traffic, you singing along
to Salt-N-Pepa, he in a car far nicer

than the rusting truck in which he took
your good bra as a trophy, hanging it

from the antenna, donuting the Kmart parking lot
the night you learned smoking was a good way

to kill time between disasters. Sometimes,
it is at a party you did not want to go to,

hair unwashed, skirt unpressed, crust of spit-up on your neck,
so that when you see him, though he is fatter and fading,

you think of why you stayed those extra months,
the gentleness with which he parted you,

and your full breasts let down their milk.

The New Year


We don’t realize it’s midnight until the gunfire,
erupting like acne across the unscrubbed streets,

waves of it rising to meet each other, two oceans jealous
of each other’s thunder. I’m trying to say something

about hopelessness, how it’s not always an absence but rather
an opening. I know how little the accident of my existence

deserves. My son was born on my birthday—a lesson
dipped in blessing. I am made of only so much

paper: to draw him I had to erase some of my lines.
Up close the smudges look like shadows though

it’s hard to say from where the light to make them shines.
When I jog it is not for health or happiness but

to prepare for the apocalypse, to outrun whatever comes—
the first lesson I learned was that no one takes you in,

no matter how heavy with miracle you are, leaving you to lie
in a barn, blood in the straw, birthing your own salvation.


Erin Adair-Hodges is the 2016 Bread Loaf-Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholar in Poetry and winner of the 2014 Loraine Williams Prize from The Georgia Review. Her poetry and prose can be seen in journals such Boulevard, The Georgia Review, Green Mountains Review, Kenyon Review, The Pinch, and more. She lives and teaches writing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she co-curates the Bad Mouth Reading Series.