I hold the fossil

of a mollusk called ammonite,

sliced in half and polished.


It’s what my own curled innards

might look like, petrified.

A souvenir.




Blessed are the housecats

whose toes are webbed

though they will not touch water.


What claws must I have

for you to believe me

when I say I will not swim.




It is almost impossible

to over-knead bread by hand,

but a machine can do it easily,


pounding until resilience turns rigid.

Bread made this way will break a tooth:

brutal, brittle as a moon.




A man once told me

I wasn’t angry enough,

as though each joy


were not a splinter of glass,

refracting light

after I extract it from my flesh.




In my anesthesia dream,

I am getting out the road salt

in summer.


I am bringing it to the garden.

I am sowing it carefully

in furrows.




The fossil comes with a note

about its metaphysical properties:

A great stone to carry during pregnancy!


The pieces rub in my pocket

like dry laughter. Listen, little mollusk:

No one on earth can tell us what we’re for.




I wake luminous,

with a new constellation

on my belly, in the shape

of a hieroglyph meaning no.




Ligation, like the ligature

that binds the reed

to the clarinet,


fastened just enough

so it can vibrate freely,

so the instrument can sing.



Amanda Hope lives in eastern Massachusetts with her cats. A graduate of Colgate University and Simmons College, she works as a librarian. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in publications including honey & lime, Barrow Street, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Construction, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Compose, where she was nominated for Best of the Net. She enjoys riding the subway, playing in brass bands, and wearing magnificent boots. You can find her on Twitter @AmandaHopePoet.

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