Seth Hagen

The Dunes

When I told him of the deer skull,
he leaned in, so I took him back
through where I’d been exploring
under oaks and down game trails

to the dunes where it was—
the single vertebra and the eyeless
thing, egg-like and bleached by the sun,
its broken jaw a couple hands away,

and I watched him lift it from the sand
to wrap as a relic and nest in his sack
to carry home until he found enough bones
for his art, and although I never knew

its weight, I try to remember how it felt,
the deep light over that sea, the white
bowl embalmed in the bag, as I put my hand
to the head of my daughter, now twelve,

who will never speak, and know words
that swell beyond, like I know the sea
over miles of hills by the color of sky.


Riding the Label

The book of circles
begins with the end,
falls in vertigo

between—I heard
pitch ringing
from the sick blue

spruce—saw beetles
pine to grub black
earth again–

all the while
I swatted at Time—
that strange little bee

bumping its orbit
around me,
a hair smaller

each turn—
needle singing
in the groove.


Seth Hagen has works forthcoming in DIAGRAM and Sugar House Review. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he teaches English.