Hannah Fries


I’m on my way to the bar, and it’s raining.

My favorite shop window is a display of doorknobs

and handles—brass ones, and porcelain, wrought

iron twisted into designs you could hold on to

to open a door. One like the glorified latch to a child’s

playhouse: inside, his collection of stones. One like the crystal

knob turned by a mother, opened on the bathroom


and the body, and I’m sorry it’s what comes to mind, but

his opened wrists, the bright white tub.

This spring the blueberry bushes bloomed early,

froze, and never fruited. A glacier groaned, calved,

undid itself. Roadside bombs. Today is my birthday.

The storm drain’s grate is open, and a truck with a hose

sucks at the black hole. My friend at the bar sobs into her rum.


Later, midnight, and the sky has almost cleared,

so I drive out of town, to the field, to watch the Perseids.

Each star soaks up its space: once a minute, one rips

through, a brief crack in the dark. Through what dream,

what midnight hall, do we stumble and grope for a switch

or a knob?  Or better: the doorway edged in light,

dim sign that someone came through before.

Hannah Fries
Hannah Fries

Hannah Fries lives in western Massachusetts, where she is associate editor and poetry editor of Orion magazine. She is a graduate of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers and is the recipient of a Colorado Art Ranch residency. Her poems have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Calyx, The Cortland Review,, upstreet, and other journals. She also serves on the board of The Frost Place—a Robert Frost Museum and poetry center in Franconia, NH—and on the organizing committee of the Berkshire Festival for Women Writers.