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Hana Jabr

Catch and Release

by Hana Jabr

To Jeff Metcalf

Last night I was a fish
in some river
I’ve never known.
The water tasted of moss

                                                          and the earthy mineral of smooth pebbles.
I glided and sliced
my way to the almost shore
where you stood in waders
water to your knees
waiting with your family.
A line of them
pretending you weren’t gone.

                                                         Would you catch me this time?
                                                         Raise me into the air                                      
                                                         mark me as a trophy?
                                                         Suddenly too many to count, we gulped the river and impatiently
                                             waited our turn
                                                                          trusting you saw us all                                                                                            our fins and gills                                                                                                                                      every last scale.

The sun dunked into the horizon
a biscuit breaking
the surface of a
lukewarm cup of tea.
All around me the river
tucked itself in for the night

and you disappeared into some
                                                                         murky forever.

Assessing the Damage

Exterior signs of earthquake damage include:
Continuous cracks horizontal cracks vertical cracks diagonal cracks foundational cracks stair
                  step cracks
Walk stairs carefully to check for a change in stability.
There’s a crack in the sidewalk
that wasn’t there before.
Inspect carefully
ceiling joints and floor registers. Are they loose, shifting, leaning, settling?
The crack in the ceiling still stretches when the house yawns
before or after a deafening stillness.
I can’t remember which.
But it’s centered.
Check if the windows and doors open with more than normal resistance.
What is normal resistance?
Be on the lookout for cracked or missing glass signs of water damage unusual debris shifting
                  gaps along cabinets.
Remember the tenderness of wind before?
Feel for drafts along the walls
inspect vertical mid-span rafter supports. Are they leaning, are they twisting?
Remember pictures clinging to walls?

Does the paint stare vacuous expressionless as if daring you to pack and leave
the shell of this home

No Relation

To Amy Cooper

The birds took flight when he bounded over
and the wind in the trees will bear witness.
Do you feel threatened now?
You think distance is just space that saves us
from restraint?
You are wound tightly around fear’s finger.
Your voice shivers behind a mask that hardly hides
hate as you bind him, winding the leash
until he cries
“I can’t breathe.”
He’s winded but your wounded pride fuels you
to hold him down, bound to the watchful ground
with non-deadly force.
Do you still feel threatened now?


Hana Jabr writes and teaches in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her chapbook Translation won the 2012 Salt Lake Community College Press chapbook competition and was published in an edition of 250 copies. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in The Start Literary Journal, Mapping SLC, and Thimble Literary Magazine. Hana is currently earning her MA in literature from Weber State University. When she isn’t working, Hana enjoys riding her horse, reading tarot cards, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.