Nancy Kangas

Happy Hour & Babies Cry at 5:03 pm
April 24, 2023 Kangas Nancy

Happy Hour


Marcy lets us play
in her bar


that was once a bank
if we drink


and stay clear
of the sound check.


The room’s
a big black lung.


It’s me,
Alex, slicing limes


in what used to be the safe,
and six or seven guys


I know by face
and paddle grip.


We shove paint sticks
to level that leg,


and hold ourselves


eight feet back.
Penhold, ten.


In my palm
the plastic moon. Up,


little friend.
I ping you


to the corner’s edge,
skinny back


for the return.
I slam it. My arm,


a swan’s neck
with a hard beak. Even I


forget a hit like that
can come


from an arm so thin.
My paddle pulls


Little Moon,
drops it —


like a middle finger hitting middle C,
all the spin still in it,


all the room’s air
inside my skirt.




Babies Cry at 5:03 pm


because the day has gone on so
fucking long. Half-century-old
people cry because the day’s
come to this narrow hall, its line-up
of wire hooks hung with keys half
of which are orphans. Hunger
howls while the sun slices in.

Nancy Kangas has poems in MAYDAY Magazine, Frog Pond Review, and was a Poetry Prize finalist in Rattle. She co-directed Preschool Poets: An Animated Film Series, that features poems composed by her students, and is at work on an animated film, Hi Nancy, It’s Mom. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.