Hemingway's Head

by Annette M. Sisson

A mound of flat rocks
stacked randomly
like a funeral pyre.
A modest tapered column
mounted on top.
A channel of water surging
past, its short stone
walls extending from
the dusky edifice.
His bronze head, no
shoulders, crowns the tower,
seems to float—serene—
among a stand of aspen.

In the rightness of this
august place, the placard
claims, he communes
with cottonwoods, trout
streams, granite scarps,
yellow autumn leaves,
white trunks with grey
knees, teal glass sky
beyond comprehension.

Sun Valley—living
flesh of his colossal
ardor, living flesh
of the withering bones
he relinquished—bodies
forth its deep quiet.
The elemental fact
of his head, so intact,
impervious, stares,
estranged on that pillar,
as he surely was,
his brain exploding
into diamond shards
that cut the pristine sky,
the clouds agape, shrieking
shots of rain on dust.


Annette Sisson lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, dog, and a small flock of hens. She is Professor of English at Belmont University, where she teaches and mentors students. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, baking, hiking, supporting local theater, watching the birds at her feeders, reading, writing, and playing the piano. Her publications include Zone 3, Rockvale Review, The Nashville Review, and a poetry chapbook, entitled A Casting Off, published by Finishing Line Press (May 2019). She has poems forthcoming in Passager Magazine, The Blue Mountain Review, SPANK the CARP, and Hamilton Stone Review. She recently won The Porch Writers’ Collective’s spring 2019 poetry contest and was awarded honorable mention in Passager Magazine’s 2019 national poetry contest.

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