Gabrielle Hogan

poem to be read as a eulogy

there’s a dog who barks like a woman being stolen, & then, suddenly,
doesn’t. i ask if its teeth are rows of streets, in a neighborhood

where you do not know my name & do not call it so soundly
into the orange velvet of an autumn where we sing happy birthday

to a ghost. here i wait for the answer as one waits for the mute to speak.
tell me, father, how do the mute pray? how do they repent for these

thrust-upon sins when viaticum is sought through a feeding tube?
dr. katz said there wasn’t one believer in the whole divinity school,

god as whipping boy with urbane chicagoan flourish—
& i say illinois is not a home, missouri not a bang

but a whimper, a whispering of carcinogens in hollow, deliberate disguise.
tell me, father, where do you go when even the hospital kills you?

when a pope dies, we replace him but i cannot replace
my grandmother’s vatican of couch cushion, quilt, tv remote.

i cannot replace the echo of a laugh she leaves behind
at a funeral, in a church, where i’m supposed to praise you

for allowing me to keep the loose skin she leaves behind for the living.
tell me, father, how do i believe in you when you unhinge her jaw

& tell me it is a sin to have no mouth?

Gabrielle Hogan is a poet from St. Louis, Missouri. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Sonora Review, Spiral Orb, LEVELER, and others. In 2017, she won the Academy of American Poets Prize for her poem “pools.” Currently she is in her last year of undergrad, with plans to pursue her MFA after graduation. She hopes you’re rooting for her because she’s rooting for you. Twitter @Gabigail97