Elizabeth Hazen’s poem selected for ‘Best American Poetry 2013’

Elizabeth Hazen has received the honor of having one of her poems  selected for a prestigious national publication, “Best American Poetry 2013.”

Hazen is an educator who lives in Towson. She hails from Bethesda, Maryland.  She  attended Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, then graduated from Yale University in 2000 and completed graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University in 2001.

The book, “Best American Poetry 2013,” is described as “the foremost annual anthology of contemporary American poetry.” It is edited by Denise Duhamel. The introduction to the tome is by David Lehman, who began this laudable series a few years back. Hazen’s acclaimed poem is titled, ”Thanatosis.”


For those who cannot camouflage themselves,
the alternative to fight or flight is tonic
immobility. The victim’s one trick:
to keel over. The cooling skin expels
foul smells, teeth clench, eyes glaze, the heart sustains
a sluggish thump. What’s outside can’t revive
the creature; it feels nothing, though alive,
paralyzed while the predator remains.
Waiting in the closet behind my mother’s
dresses, scent of hyacinth, I transmute—
mouth pressed in the wool of her one good suit—
into a speechless, frozen thing. The others
call me from far away, but I am fixed
right here. As if these shadows have cast doubt
across my way of seeing, I don’t want out,
and like the prey who plays at rigor mortis,
biding her time when the enemy is near,
while I’m inside this darkness I can see
no difference between death and immobility,
what it is to hide and to disappear.

 by Elizabeth Hazen