The Poems of Frances Hatfield

ae poetry FrancisEditor’s note: Frances Hatfield lives in Santa Cruz, where she also maintains a private practice in depth psychotherapy. Her poetry has appeared most recently in Parabola Magazine, Memoir (and), Jung Journal, Undivided, and Numinous Magazine. Her first book of poems, “Rudiments of Flight,” was published this year by Wings Press. She will participate in the Poetry Santa Cruz reading series, along with nationally known poet Steve Kowit, at Bookshop Santa Cruz at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14.

The Invitation

In the house of shame

good news is worse than bad

Who set me wandering through my dreams

searching for relics of my wings?

Who lit the lamp and drew for me a bath

Scented with roses and myrrh?

That light will surely shatter me

when it finds me hiding in ashes

What do you mean, take off

the demon-riddled rags?

What then

could I wear?


Nude Descending a Staircase

Imagine the scene

where the body plunges

through a plate of glass

in very slow motion,

the invisible wall shatters

ae poetry coverinto a puzzle of light, the shriek

of splintering shards winds down

to reveal a choral ode

both jubilant

and tragic

and let’s say you are the glass

and love is the body,

you could see

it coming and knew

it wouldn’t stop,

what chance did you have

against that immortal

weight set ablaze

by time,

and there were two worlds

you were trying to keep apart

with this marvelous invention

of yourself,

and who were you fooling

that you are made of something solid,

you are really only liquid light

fresh out from the fires

of your birth,

descending to earth

slower than the eye can see,

and now shattered—

the place you once stood

remembers wind,

the bed

will be baptized

by rain

as you fall,


by shining piece

into the abyss

that is the shortest


between us

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