Two Poems by Le Hinton






The Rainy Season

We report the discovery of the Labord’s chameleon, with a posthatching life span of just 4–5 months.
— PNAS abstract: “Unique life history among tetrapods”

I think of dying every day… At a certain age, you should be prepared to go at any time.
— August Wilson

What if you get only four
months to live? From an egg-
breaking birth until your palm
tree death-fall. Just the brief weeks
of a rainy season in Madagascar.

What if the sole purpose of your existence
is to find the love-of-your-lizard-life
and sire a clutch of new eggs, never
bothering to even eat that whole time. Never
getting the chance to hug your little ones later.
How compelling is that memoir?

Would you ponder your own mortality or wonder
if you’ll be reborn into a higher realm?
Maybe you’d worry that you’ve not done enough
in your rainforested life to earn your angel
wings, fly up to some reptile heaven.

You don’t have enough time to do it all. To listen to Shorter
through black, Bose speakers or watch old film clips
of Clemente being brilliant. You won’t study Carlsen’s cunning
when playing the Scotch Opening or experience Clifton reading at Dodge.
There is no time to dream or hope inside your chameleon brain.

So, tell me, how do I spend the next
three months after a blood test hints
that the cancer is undetectable this time?

What do I do with
these 90 days

until the next test?
These 90 days

until the next scan.
These 90 days

before the lease comes up for renewal?

My heart is misty, and I am lost, tiny friend.
So, tell me again, how do we dream
in this season of rain?


This isn’t a constant battle. Sometimes he loses
interest or moves on to someone else for a while.
Attention deficit perhaps. Eventually, he’ll get back to me.

Maybe I should move the emergency
money to the joint checking account
so that she doesn’t have to do it later.

The Buddhist in me focuses on the present, like
the silence in Kind of Blue. The ghosts of those
seven souls never change keys.

There are less-depressing methods to increase
your vocabulary. You can learn metastatic
and malignant without personal examples.

The doctors ask, How are you? Do you have any
pain? Can you quantify it for me? But I’m not
a math major. Can I write a poem instead?

What should I do with my subscriptions?
Renew, cancel. Cancel, renew. I wonder if the gods
are pondering the same decision about me.

Once upon a summer, I took a two-week course
in conversational Greek. I don’t recall much.
Just enough to say andío.

Poet and publisher, Le Hinton, is the author of seven collections including, most recently, Elegies for an Empire (2023) and Sing Silence (2018), both from Iris G. Press. His work has been widely published and can be found in The Best American Poetry 2014, the Baltimore Review, the Skinny Poetry Journal, the Progressive Magazine, Little Patuxent Review, Pleiades, the Summerset Review, and elsewhere. His poems have received multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize and have been nominated for Best of the Net. His poem, “Epidemic,” won the Baltimore Review’s 2013 Winter Writers Contest. In 2014 it was honored by The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and in 2021 it was featured on the WPSU program, “Poetry Moment.” His poem, “Our Ballpark,” can be found outside Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, incorporated into Derek Parker’s sculpture Common Thread.

Image by King of Hearts, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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