Two Poems by M.Z. Hopkins

A History of Wonder

I am seven
My first aware of this spring
almost-summer dream
Short, and standing in my big blue house’s shadow
I French kiss the dirt
I taste every mineral,
every root
My gums are tight, my teeth rough
I lick the iron in my molars
and those roots flourish within me
They entangle in my aorta
I find it hard to breathe
Yet I, myself, feel free
Feeling flowers bloom from every bronchiole
There is a trunk growing from me
I catch every fresh-born petal falling in spring
A twig of twinkle,
a sprig of a lovelace wind deity
And I lift my face from the grass–
stains of green on my cheek
There are chloroplasts in my corneas
I can finally see
I take a step back
the rake sinks into my heel
Achilles begs for mercy
But I focus solely on the backyard twinkle tree
standing high above me
It weaves and bobs in the wind
The sky begins to rain
A puddle forms at my boots
and in the little crater created by me

Ten years later I am seventeen
I have since gone through many more seasons
Taller now, but still standing in my blue house’s shadow,
stare down at an abrupt stump
of what was once the backyard twinkle tree
I lay on my back
I feel every root that has grown outward through me
My heart pounds, every beat a rustle of that tree
The bronchiole blossoms have since peeled off from winter
There are still its flowers, leaves, babies, littered on the grass–
babies born to the current cold freeze
I rub my hand across the bump
and in the distance hear the breeze deity’s wind song
I look at the scar at the back of my heel
It is grayed out like clouds
and phloem spirals in the dead woods
The hot spike of the rusted rake
warms me, my Achilles, and my memory
of the tall what-once-was
Its words hum within me,
echoing through every blade of dead, brown grass
The winter cries snowflake tears
and I wonder what could have become of the twinkle tree

The history of Wonder is
“A feeling of surprise
mingled with admiration,
caused by something beautiful,
unexpected, unfamiliar, inexplicable”
“Desire or be curious
to know something”
Ponder, think about,
meditate, reflect, ask
“Feel doubt”
That dead, brown grass
Old English wundor,
Wundrian of Germanic origin;
related to Dutch wonder
and German Wunder,
of unknown ultimate origin
The what-once-was twinkle tree

Goodbye Mother

My feet are walking
I’m wandering
if I’m the one moving them,
I’m wondering
The soy strands lean toward me

I don’t know what I’ll do when my mother is gone
I’ll want to ask her
I want to ask her
how can I get through this
how will I get through this

And I can’t.
Because my mother will be gone.

I was here,
waiting for you
I am sticky with sweat
My limbs float up
I am filled with summer air

Go home
Take a rest
Don’t be scared
She is there
waiting for me

You’re not dead yet
I won’t let you be dead yet

I wonder if
I’m just talking to myself

It’s all earth and dust
There is no grass around this house
We stir our tea
We are silent for awhile

M.Z. Hopkins is a Creative Writing major and currently a junior at New England College. Fun fact: He is actually an omnipotent being on the Henniker Review. He has multiple pets whom he refers to as “his rats,” but really they are two Yorkshire Terriers named Lexi and Piper, one Ragdoll cat named Junie, a dinosaur-aged rabbit named Chip, and two algae eater fish named Penelope and Patricia.

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