The Hanged Man

Victoria Nordlund


Suspended by my own will,
right foot bound,
left foot free,
I tell myself it’s OK
because there is no noose
around my neck.
I am here
in this grayness
because I chose
to be a martyr
in this nothing—
upside down
in this tree
that seems to be living.
I am already hanged.
Done hanging on—

There is victory in this surrender.
So much power in yielding
to the universe.
So much time now
since I stopped moving forward.
Any way you turn the card
I will still be in this position—
rooted to the underworld,
shouldering the heavens—
See, it really doesn’t matter.
I left myself
here holding my own hands
behind my back,
wearing my blue coat, red tights,
and serene smile
I will never take off,
convincing myself
I am plenty
comfortable in the warmth
of my own halo.




Victoria Nordlund received her MALS from Wesleyan University. She teaches creative writing at Rockville High School in Vernon, CT. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. A 2018 Best of the Net Nominee, her work is published in Coffin Bell, Pank Magazine, Gone Lawn, Ghost Proposal, Philosophical Idiot, and other journals. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, three children, and poodle.