Hibernacula Parable

Leslie Harrison

& everything increases the wars the numbers the cities& doors admit people into houses& gates exclude people from the lands& we make snow globes those perfect lives under glass& we imagine skates gliding happily forever across thin ice& the lights are always on always golden& beacons steady in their welcome& the ice never breaks& nobody goes under& the fish see etchings in the sky contrails carved by shadows and blades& there are no planes no roaring silver birds no towers& even violence causes only weather& the next storm coats the town with glitter and prism& even a toy is a lesson in secrets& the fish are an uncertainty experiment& deep in the pond we pretend a shipwreck& the fish are all named Heisenberg& the people are made unknowable made entirely of secrets& the absence of touch& somewhere in the scene a frog has frozen solid& sugar prevents ice from breaking his heart& his voice in the spring will be mighty& spring will never come to the globe& the one gesture of a tree& the bare branch the bird endlessly perching& nobody has to stop skating& put away the skates and leave the beautiful snow& go through a doorway& into another world& the people glide between the golden lights and the golden fish& live in sudden storms of shining snow& they're cradled in distant unreachable hands& pierced by ice& saved by sweetness

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Headshot of Leslie Harrison

Leslie Harrison’s third book, Reck, is forthcoming from the University of Akron Press. Her second book, The Book of Endings (Akron, 2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her first book, Displacement (Mariner, 2009) won the Bakeless Prize in poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming from Kenyon Review, New England Review, Sixth Finch and elsewhere. She lives and works in Baltimore. Read more at leslie-harrison.com

Cover of MQR

Winter 2022

Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan

Khaled Mattawa

Poetry Editor
Constanza Contreras

Managing Editor
H.R. Webster

Michigan Quarterly Review is an interdisciplinary and international literary journal, combining distinctive voices in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as works in translation. Our work extends online as well, where we publish cultural commentary alongside reviews and interviews with writers, artists, and cultural figures around the world. The flagship literary journal of the University of Michigan, our magazine embraces creative urgency and cultural relevance, aiming to challenge conventions and address long-overdue conversations. As we continue to promote an expansive and inclusive vision, we seek work from established and emerging writers with diverse aesthetics and experiences.

Twice a year, we curate an array of perspectives on a single theme. Past special issues have included writing on the Flint Water Crisis, the Great Lakes, Greece, China, and Caregiving.

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