Patrick Cabello Hansel

★ ★ ★ ★


Image by Steffen Lemmerzahl


The winter my first love left
me but did not leave the town
we shared, I lived just
up the hill from the railroad
tracks and the Malt-O-Meal
plant. Midnight to three
were chosen hours of prayer:
the whistle of a long freight
heading south with corn or coal;
the switchyard, where tomorrow’s
boxcars were hitched to engines
by men with lanterns; the sound
of cannons as the puffed
wheat or rice was shot from
the 5th floor, and fell into air,
as air curled into each kernel.
Snow muffled all, and breath
was all I spoke; breath warmed
by the blood transporting through
my lungs; some vessels bringing
oxygen into flesh, others offering
carbon to the part of the sky we
overlook, that part that rises a foot
or two from our mouths, then
disappears. In winter, we can see
our breath; in all seasons, we must
trust it. Praise rises, but so does grief;
one is not ashamed of the other.
That winter, snow became my counsel,
tracks heading somewhere, beauty
cold, deep, unspeakable, alive.

Patrick Cabello Hansel is the author of the poetry collections The Devouring Land (Main Street Rag Publishing), Quitting Time (Atmosphere Press) and the forthcoming Breathing in Minneapolis (Finishing Line).  He has published poems and prose in over 85 journals in the U.S. Israel, Ireland, England and the Philippines, and has received awards from the Loft Literary Center and the MN State Arts Board.  He is the editor of The Phoenix of Phillips, a literary magazine for and by the most diverse neighborhood in Minneapolis.


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