Year of the Murder Hornet

by Tina Cane

year of the cloud of pollen     that chased me to my car     across the supermarket parking lot   year I was overpowered     by flowering magnolia petals     in a windstorm while walking home   year of the murder hornet     and coronavirus     and weather as a system     that shaped each day   in a way that felt     different from the past     year during which you understood     how the neighborhood   you grew up in     shaped the way you say friend     how the word childhood     is the start of a sentence   that has no end     until you aren’t the one saying it anymore     year of grown-ups    with their gravity   making everything     a question or a fragment     depending on their personal weather     whether   some of them     were green or deep     as trees of your imagining     year when the way trees speak       with each other about each other     was more essential     than the shade they gave     year to try to live       like trees     upright yielding seeking     sunlight and silent languages     year I got a book in the mail       about housecleaning     as a joke from another poet     regarding a poem of mine     about life being hard       and people’s constant quest     on the internet     to make things easier     year the cover of the book   read     Introducing Your Household Heroes:  Regular Products with Multiple Abilities     how multiple abilities       sounded more like an affliction     than a capacity     year of nights I lost sleep     year my mind cradled me    



Born and raised in New York City, Tina Cane serves as the Poet Laureate of Rhode Island where she is the founder and director of Writers-in-the-Schools, RI. Her poems and translations have appeared in numerous publications, including The Literary Review, Spinning JennyTupelo Quarterly, Jubliat, and The Common. She also co-produces, with Atticus Allen, the podcast, Poetry Dose. Cane is the author of The Fifth Thought (Other Painters Press, 2008), Dear Elena: Letters for Elena Ferrante, poems with art by Esther Solondz (Skillman Avenue Press, 2016), Once More With Feeling  (Veliz Books, 2017)and Body of Work (Veliz Books, 2019).In 2016, Tina received the Fellowship Merit Award in Poetry, from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. She is also a 2020 Poet Laureate Fellow with the Academy of American Poets and the creator/curator of the distance reading series, Poetry is Bread.

Back to the Issue