Andrea Hackbarth

A Girl's Guide to Easy Love Spells

Part 1

First, you must cultivate belief in words
and the magic of repetition. Then choose a boy
and write his name in combination with yours
across eleven notebook covers. Employ

your girlish powers of design to your future
initials—repeat them you fall in love with the change,
till becoming another becomes your second nature.
Then, before anyone sees your heart on the page

rip it out, crumple it up, and burn it well.
Give that boy up and write another's name
with yours. Repeat. Each time it will be quicker
to take his as your own. Keep faith in the spell-—
Repeat repeat repeat each name the same
way until one becomes your final moniker.

Part 2

You'll find that incantations fail. Or maybe
you did—lost the rhythm, gave up each boy's name
too soon.      Now then,
             it's time. Give in to body—

the way it falls and rises, molds itself
like damp spring soil in his hands.      Sink
your faltering belief into ancient weary earth
and the carnal divinity of flesh

and flesh together, wrapped
in sweat drenched sheets
stuck like plastic wrap to slabs of meat.

Dig deep your stone-sharp nails
in the communal pleasure of skin and focus
only there.           Lie back—

watch the smolder of a half-smoked Camel Red
in the ashtray beside your fallow dirt-caked bed.

Try to catch the glimmer of moonlight streaming through.

Origin Story

Say that the girl-child came bursting forth
from the richest dirt on a latesummer Monday,
as bright as early ripened corn, as sweet,
as golden. Imagine her plump new skin,
glistening, see her limbs eager to follow,
her eyes wide open and full with obedience,

her very blood flowing with obedience
to unspoken ancient mandates, rushing forth
like rivers through smooth rock, following
long-established routes. Tell about the day
they held her up and drenched her skin
in holy waters: she became fresh and sweet.

Say this, and the story will end up sweet
as honey ought to be. Celebrate the obedient
way the child pressed her tender footskin
into country gravel and set herself forth
on the appointed path, each and every day
choosing still that well-trod road to follow.

Know that during every dark night she followed
the fragmentary paths of stars only in her sweet
and sensible dreams. She waited patiently for day.
Say she was content in her small obediences
to the turning way of things, how the fourth
season returned always to the first and her skin

would in the end return to earth, the kin
of deer and birds, the same cycle to follow.
As she grew she saw how her veins spread forth
like the veins in leaves unfurling to sweeten
the spring air; say she felt beauty in her obedient
body's mimicry of the earth's progression of days.

Tell the growing girl-child one Saturday
afternoon about the blessing that is her skin
kept pure. Sing high the praises of her obedience
to the order her forbears all have followed.
Convince the girl that home is plenty sweet
enough for her, to take only what's been set forth.

Say that this is how the girl-child's days spread forth
before her skin. Tell her the sweet beginnings and believe
she'll follow the story's plot with pure obedience.


Andrea L. Hackbarth grew up in rural Minnesota and earned her BA in English from Lawrence University, a background that influences her writing significantly. She currently lives in Palmer, Alaska, where she works as a writing tutor and is an MFA student at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Some of her recent work can be found in The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, Digital Americana, Flyover Country Review, and Gargoyle Magazine.


Sylvia Ashby
Jane Blanchard
Barbara Crooker
Lisa DeSiro
Nicole Caruso Garcia
Andrea Hackbarth
Kathryn Jacobs
Mina Le
Charlotte Mandel
Libby Maxey
Joan Mazza
Susan McLean
Sally Nacker
Janice D. Soderling
Myrna Stone
Wendy Videlock
Doris Watts
Marly Youmans


The most recent addition to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline is Modern Age Japanese Women Poets: Yosano Akiko, Hayashi Fumiko, Kiyoko Nagase, Chika Sagawa by Patricia Callan.

Wendy Videlock was the recipient of the 2016 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Mary Temple has lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York for the past 20 years. She moved to the borough after completing her MFA in painting and drawing at Arizona State University. She then went on to study at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1999.

Mary Temple has exhibited her work throughout the US and abroad. The artist has completed commissioned projects at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, SF, CA; SculptureCenter, LIC, Queens, NY; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; Rice Gallery, Houston, TX; Western Bridge, Seattle, WA; The Drawing Center, NY; UCSF Mission Bay Medical Center; The Bunkamura Museum, Tokyo, Japan; NYU Abu Dhabi, among many other venues. Her work has been reviewed in publications including, The New York Times, Artforum, ArtNews and Art in America. This year the artist will complete major public projects for the City of New York's Percent for Arts program, at the historic landmark site, McCarren Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as well as at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital's new wing, The Building for a Better Future.

You can view more work from this series and others at Temple's website: marytemple.com.

32 Poems
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
The Poem Tree
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

Bread Loaf
Poetry by the Sea


Barefoot Muse Press
David Robert Books
David R. Godine Press
Graywolf Press
Headmistress Press
The Johns Hopkins University Press
Louisiana State University Press
Northwestern Univ Press
Ohio Univ Press
Persea Books
Red Hen Press
Texas Tech Univ Press
Tupelo Press
Univ of Akron Press
Univ of Arkansas Press
Univ of Illinois Press
Univ of Iowa Press
Waywiser Press
White Violet Press

City Lights
Grolier Poetry Bookshop
Joseph Fox Bookshop
Prairie Lights
Tattered Cover Bookstore

92nd Street Y
Literary Mothers
Poets & Writers