Dianna Henning

The bottom of night is a potato bin,

a place to snag what falls down the galaxy’s tin chute.

Is that where you caught me?

Did you lift me off an impression?

I would like to think that I was the real thing.

A Siren with white wings.

When you poured me into the mold of marriage,

did I jell, and yes, family says we both jelled quite well,

that we were in the thick of it

until I dug my way out.

When a man touches a woman’s cheek with a rose

it’s called getting the full Fresno.

Seduction such as ours

was no brash happenstance.

Attraction pulls its bell and lays you out.

This bite on my cheek is no tattoo either.

It’s where the tickle-feather took root,

so don’t make small potatoes of it.

We were one rib on that bed.

Now the bell in the voice is only a signal,

a right or left turn. I first turned right, then left.


Dianna Henning’s book, The Tenderness House, was published in 2004; it can be purchased at Her work has appeared in numerous national magazines, including Crazyhorse, Asheville Poetry Review, and The Louisville Review. She has taught in many California prisons, and for three years she held a California Arts Council residency funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. More of her poems can be found at


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