Rumpus Original Poetry: Three Poems by Bianca Stone





Identification of the Hawk 

“It is a joy to be hidden and a disaster not to be found”

                                 —Donald Winnicott

I am the tattered hawk eating the little songbird
God left behind to ponder desire.
Ideation is a pastime, and I pass it. 
Haggard in the mirror. I held something terrible in 
for so long. Crouched, vengeful as Tybalt in the closet 

with oilcloth and stiff boots and fossilized dog shit,
a leather belt around my neck at age twelve 
I throttled in but gave up, mutilated thief, 
drawing boobs on the vintage airplane wallpaper pattern
rocking to the music of a synthesizer drum demo.

And once, in summer, I handled a frog for hours. Still 
and disturbed, it floated like a toy 
when I put it back in the water—wouldn’t even try
to get away anymore. I watched and watched, then bored, went 
and smashed the community garden’s tomatoes in the road

and felt the hot rough mouths of jersey cattle 
with a handful of grass, my arm flung over the barbed wire
nailed to rough logs running a line through the marsh
and asters— burdock in my hair and my thighs cut up from 
blade grass; I knew all the songs from Oliver! having played
the small role of housekeeper. Made maps that led out; wanted
to be met by the streetlamp, but never did 

feel brave enough in the proceeding dark—yes, we were joyfully hidden then, and 
I could always be found, in the shed out back, barefoot and 
bent, eating the flushed heads of red clover and
tying up the dolls again.



The Good Fruit of Relation 

It is a kind of cruel trick of nature, to look like someone else. 
Night draws a question mark on the floor
in its white dead star paint, hatchet-faced moon, bled dry. 
Night burns a vision into me.

I look like someone else, and another, but
shame is and not as good as anger, I’ve learned—yes, 
I’ve learned: the purportedly good fruit of Relation—
I eat and eat, until my eyes are sore. 

We come tearing into the world pruning, pulling 
at the edges—and we take what we can get, willingly.
I keep imagining a way I get out of this world, but

I want to be here, is the problem. 
Classic oedipal. 



I <3 Fortinbras 

Fortinbras felt so good 
the way he came after everyone was dead
with an army, and their complexes were dead
dead, dead, but still soft, the flush
just barely drained from of their cheeks, 
when he passed sadly, they lay at his legs.
Fair and fleet as fawn—original 
rages. And his sadness felt for them all.
Finally we all got to feel 
like shit about the whole thing.
Fair and fleet as fawn—his eyes. No one 
moving. Yet someone arrives. 

The poison always made me excited; indiscernible smear 
upon a sword, the pearl dropped in wine, 
an already gone but moving
mother, swooning to see the men bleed, in blue silk 
made by many servants—

I stand in my driveway 
imagining the pyre I would make. 
The whole afterlife of my life. I stand 
in Springtime in my driveway with many sounds 
and the lilacs and astringent dandelion breeze,
speaking to myself, as I have never spoken before. 



Author photo by Daniel Schechner

Bianca Stone is a poet and artist. Her books include The Mobius Strip Club of Grief (Tin House, 2018), Someone Else's Wedding Vows (Octopus Books and Tin House, 2014), and most recently What is Otherwise Infinite (Tin House, 2022). Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The Nation. She teaches classes on poetry and consciousness in Vermont, where she is Creative Director at the Ruth Stone House. More from this author →