November 24, 2011

Poets You Should Know -- S.C. Hahn

S.C. Hahn grew up in Nebraska and lives in Sweden, where he sometimes bakes pies, encounters Masonite in his renovation of an old farm house, and is a freelance editor and writer. His prose poems have appeared in The Prose Poem, The Chiron Review, and The Party Train: A Collection of North American Prose Poetry (New Rivers Press, 1996), among other places.
Funeral Feast Pie

Slice after slice goes into the mouths of the mourners. It is as though they cannot get enough of something that reassures their living state, and pie is as good as anything else empirical or otherwise.

The long Sunday School table set up in the parish hall is dressed with a paper tablecloth all in white, like a bride. The whiteness is adorned with colors of lush fruit baked in crusts: double-crust apple, Dutch apple, deep-dish apple, sinful blackberry; rhubarb of pale scarlet and green like the colors of a bishop's robe in a medieval painting on wood; sour-cream raisin, with its plumped fruit set into custard as exquisitely as amber in yellow putti.

The servers cut into a pie brought fresh from a farm kitchen, and its soul—a wisp of peaches and spices and flour—rises heavenward, at least as far as the parish hall ceiling, and the mourners move forward to witness this little ascension.

The Origins of Masonite

Some say it is invoked, not manufactured, from an anti-papist conspiracy hatched within a fir forest, but its surface flatly denies theory. Nonetheless: hold it above your head as you nail it to the ceiling and you are swearing an oath to the appearance of uniformity.

You can paint it, spackle it, glue glitter on its compliant surface until you would swear the night sky was a big sheet of Masonite tacked onto the ends of the earth and bent almost until it broke, stars spilling like sawdust onto your head.

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