Lauren Haldeman

Field Trip

One child is repeated

by many other children 

looking at the sky

with binoculars.


Behind us, the analog 

stream of autumn. Followed 

by a chain-link fence. 

Followed by the slow 

idea of starting 

to run very far away. 


A person with a basket 

offers us three tiny flags

in the gut of

the field. One of them,

red with stripes, 


I take. Two flags, later,

found in the basement 

of a partially 

constructed house. By 

this time, it is 


dark. The others  

are gone. A permission slip

flutters, once, under 

the stars—but it is 

not my permission slip.


An Incident: Hallucination

This time, you are sleeping in the upstairs bedroom at the end of the hallway w/ 

            the woods out the window                 the woods

You go to bed early, turning off all the lights & when you wake    in      middle of the night, the room 

                                exactly as it was before, except for 

now there is 



woman hung 

by her neck in the corner 

                             of the dark room, dangling from the ceiling by a rope; 



creaks she            turns the air 


Her gown is old, her hair is 




you see her face



This photograph was taken in 1991: everyone lined up. 


The field, us. 


Repeat the photograph. 


There is something that will not 

hold still.





         real rooms or           portraits of rooms        at the end of the hallway: room. 


At the end of the hallway:     hallway    portrait of hallway. 




For some reason the artillery did not fire, as if the Virginians were invisible . . .


Quick concussion of sunlight.


At night after the fighting, a ghost

wouldn’t know where to begin.



“We went through some woods, which were full of 

dead bodies, and formed in line again.” 


As toilsome I played near Virginia’s woods, my brothers

disappear into the bosky thicket.


“We found this bone in the creek”—brothers


“Too big to be a deer bone”—dad


This field was a scene of confusion.


What is this story now that my brother is dead? 

My dead brother found a dead bone 

at a soccer field near the battlegrounds?


Dead Ryan posted over alive Ryan in the memory/


Dead Ryan pasted over alive Ryan in the thought.



Is he smaller? Was he ever small?


Out of the woods behind you filed 

fresh reinforcements.


The hallucinations begin when we move to Fairfax Station.



Author Bio

Lauren Haldeman is the author of Instead of Dying (winner of the 2017 Colorado Prize for Poetry, Center for Literary Publishing, 2017), Calenday (Rescue Press, 2014) and the artist book The Eccentricity is Zero (Digraph Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in Tin House, Colorado Review, Fence, The Iowa Review and The Rumpus. A comic book artist and poet, she has been a recipient of the Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, the Colorado Prize for Poetry and fellowships from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.