2017 Gauntlet Participant: Hannah LeGris




what if I can’t get out of bed

what if I can’t stop sliding my tongue against yours

what if I just want to live off the taste of your mouth

what if I’m still kissing you and I’ve forgotten how to write poetry because all my poems were about being frustrated and unhappy and I’m not that

what if you said all you need to do is push the pen across the paper but I don’t write on paper unless I’m making lists

what if all my lists are fragments of conversations I had planned to make into a poem

what if all my conversations are with you and I’m too busy paying attention to what you’re saying to write any of it down

what if I’m too distracted listening to ladies and gentleman we are floating in space

what if I’m leaving in a week and what if your flight doesn’t arrive

what I have to drive to atlanta and tell my lover I’m in love with you

what if I am accidentally boastful and foolish because love makes you irrational

what if I can’t be any other way  

what if he is surprised and hurt but would never tell me

what if he tells me years later and I feel like an asshole  

what if he is wearing those tight jeans from japan

what if he and I drink cocktails and eat steamed fish and ride our bikes and popsicles drip down our hands and the handlebars get sticky in the heat and strangers’ dogs lick them clean what if he turns on the lights strung around his tiki bar

what if he carefully makes me a drink that I’ve never had before

what if we split it  

what if the cocktail is the perfect amount of sweet

what if there’s a part of me that misses how easy it was to be angry at him

what if I secretly write down all of our conversations and make poetry out of them

what if I leave and nothing and everything has changed and I don’t care

what if the body really does heal itself

what if time is all it really takes

what if I meet you in austin it is too hot to sleep in the desert

what if we refuse to turn on the air conditioner and our bodies stick together  

what if my skin burns against yours

what if you slide your teeth along my nipples and I taste like the salt blocks our horses swept their tongues across in the pasture

what if they licked that salt because they needed it to stay alive

what if desire is a hungry thing

what if heartbreak has its place


Hannah LeGris holds a MA in English Literature from the University of Kentucky and a BA in English from the College of Wooster. She has taught memoir and creative non fiction with The Young Women Writers Project, the SwallowTale Writing Project at the Fayette County Detention Center, and to University of Kentucky students. She has never studied poetry until The Gauntlet. Hannah works in the Lewis Honors College at the University of Kentucky, where she teaches service learning, recruits prospective students, and advises. She enjoys running, biking, letter-writing, mixed-media collage-making, and throwing dinner parties.   

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