“Frozen America” by Zinnia Hansen

Zinnia Hansen


I imagine my brand-new copy of The Best American Poetry 2021 lying silent after the apocalypse. I’d like to remain conservative a little longer. save seed for winter. watch it sprout in the spring. I break bread by myself, sitting on the floor, hunched over by the fire, like God’s lap cat, watching it snow. I’m hoping another ice age will give us room to thaw again. our Christmas tree this year was thirteen feet tall. I was just grateful that I couldn’t reach the top. sometimes I want God to step out from the center of the sun. but other times I want Him to stay there, pinned, the tallest branch stuffed up His ass. this winter, I’ve noticed how the sky grows blue every young night, how it’s growing, inching that much closer to everything. I’m thinking about how close blue is to orange. I’m thinking about how the snow hasn’t stopped falling, about how I want to make a perfume out of all our empty orange peels, about how the mountains will melt into mud. on the unfinished walls of the century-old hardware store my grandparents turned into a home are portraits of the salmon they caught. more than alive, the fish tread water in their frames; open mouths, a gateway to heaven. glorious iconography. a paint brush, a pen, a knife. as I walk through the storm, I look back and see the windows tinted red with light. holy. the flags are flying, flopping like dying fish as they learn how to breathe. who is going to cut a hole in the horizon and let out the frozen smoke?

from Poets Respond
January 2, 2022


Zinnia Hansen: “This past week, western Washington was hit by a severe cold snap, leaving me stranded at my grandma’s house for four days after Christmas. It was incredibly beautiful, romantic even. But as a member of Gen Z, unusual weather, even if it’s a snowstorm, always makes me think about climate change, which makes me think about the apocalypse.” (web)

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