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Thinking of Reincarnation While Washing the Dishes

The romantic part of me wants to believe
in reincarnation, so I don’t hurt anyone,

so I don’t make any mistakes
on my way back to you.

We can make sure we don’t hurt each other
over the decades. We can grow less eager

to yell, or underappreciate silent acts of love.
We should release our resentments,

let them dissipate like unrealized dreams,
treat each day as a childhood summer

never-ending, nirvana approximate, yet too short.
As I put away our dishes, I cradle each one—

some shapes, some patterns remind me of the ones
I fucked on my way to you. I see an ex-lover in a scorch

mark, and smile as I Brillo him off the skillet.
I stack coffee mugs precariously as is our method,

the one that works for us. We have tried
and given up on more stable, less clattery configurations.

I fold the dish towel, glad to impose a bit of lopsided order,
overjoyed to share my non-reincarnatable life with you.


Sean Hanrahan is a Philadelphian poet originally hailing from Dale City, Virginia. He is the author of the full-length collection Safer Behind Popcorn (2019 Cajun Mutt) and the chapbooks Hardened Eyes on the Scan(2018 Moonstone) and Gay Cake (2020 Toho). His work has also been included in several anthologies, including Moonstone Featured PoetsQueer Around the World, and Stonewall’s Legacy, and several journals, including Impossible Archetype, Poetica Review, and Voicemail Poems. He has taught classes titled A Chapbook in 49 Days and Ekphrastic Poetry and hosted poetry events throughout Philadelphia.

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