Hannah Warren


          -After Billy Collins’ “Litany”

You are the feather quill and the inkwell,
the sheathed sword and the steel bracers.
You are the electricity in the wall socket,
and the tender coherence of a down pillow.
You are the overflowing bookshelf of the don
and cobblestone bridge covering trickles of rain.

However, you are not the excess sugar in my coffee,
the smallest teaspoon in the drawer,
or the newly-sprouted, prickly burrs in spring.
And you are certainly not the smudged, green paint.
There is no way you are the smudged, green paint.

It is possible that you are the latch on my kitchen window,
maybe even the threadbare blanket beneath ice-drenched stars,
but you are not even close
to being the dusty bottle of overpriced sparkling water.

A quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the petrified, yellow rose
nor the oak tree in the overgrown gardens.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery in the world,
that I am the shade of every pine needle.

I also happen to be the rattle of tin sheds,
the raggedy cloak of a begging man,
the stop sign on a dead-end street.

I am also the smell before the thunderstorm
and the sandbags of the hot air balloon.
But don’t worry, I am not the feather quill and the inkwell.
You are still the feather quill and the inkwell.
You will always be the feather quill and the inkwell,
Not to mention the sheathed sword and – somehow – the steel bracers.


Hannah Warren is currently a senior undergraduate English major at Mississippi State University. Upon graduation in 2016, she wishes to pursue a Master in Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. Hannah is published in BurningWord Literary Journal and Belle Reve Literary Journal.