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2022 Issue  >  Poetry  >  Circles

Abstract 5.jpg
Artwork by
Jesse Lee Kercheval


Ben Hartman

I used to pick you up and 

Swing you around in circles

On the street

In the hallways

Under the streetlights

I could draw circles until the end of time

Like a vulture over its prey

The vulture is fate

The prey is us


A year passes, nearly two

I crossed the sand to greet you

Our smiles spoke for us

The electricity matched the sand

White hot

I drew circles with your body again

A spike in the tide couldn’t divide us

Without hesitation we swept away

Into my blankets

And drew circles around each other


Ten years pass

A stranger to my aged eyes

A crack touches your 

Heart as you walk away

Realization strikes my soul

My eyes’ whites wake

“It’s you!”

You circle around

I crash into you 

And pick you up

And draw circles with your body again


Twenty years pass

My life’s path has veered elsewhere

You are a beautiful memory

A bird tells me your name and 

Tells me you say “hello”

Time stops

Then retreats

Twenty years

Then ten years more

The vulture is us

The prey is fate


My soul circles around the 

Sound of your name

I hope you hear my foreign hello

And circle around with a smile

I hope the thought of me still 

Sweeps you off your feet

And swings you in circles

So you feel what I feel


Flying blinded and fearless

We run circles around each other 

So that our connection never ends

Ben Hartman is a graduate from Lawrence University (Appleton, WI) who enjoys writing, hiking, kayaking, and just about anything that will result in an enlightening story or experience.  Whether it's an unfamiliar hiking trail, the aisles of a library, or the thoughts within your mind, keep exploring!

 Jesse Lee Kercheval is a writer, translator, and graphic artist. Her recent books include the short story collection Underground Women and  La crisis es el cuerpo, a bilingual edition of her poetry, translated by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg, published in Argentina by Editorial Bajo la luna. Her recent graphic narratives, comics and art have appeared in Waxwing, The Quarantine Public Library, On the Seawall, Sweet Lit, and New Letters.

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