Christine Hamm


For Andrew, After College

You are not mostly in my dreams.

For a while, yes, for years,
I dreamt I sat on your bed counting the crooked places
in the pine branches outside the window
while you talked in a room
on the other side of your old house
(carpets worn beyond grey,
money taped under the drawers)

Your mother's smile made me wince.
She was washing the aluminum foil--
again and again -- so German --
hanging it outside on a line to dry.

So now
I dream about darker, more fragrant houses
or a beach
with pink waves that knock me, again and again,
into the warm sand. Horses everywhere, rolling and
shivering in the surf.
When I wake, there's someone
there and he washes my dishes,
feeds my cats.

Look out the window.

There's bright flashing, almost Morse.
It's me saying it's safe. I'm over you.

It's time for you to call.



In the Park of Lost Ideas

Everyone is in a wheelchair, or just
fallen out of a wheelchair.
The weather is unclear.
The man-made lake,beaded with toy boats,
moves like mercury
or a silver-backed ape.

Retrievers don't bark, but sit and wait.
Cross-legged children sit in a circle,
eat grass or braid each other's hair.
Men and women in crisp biege uniforms
mow the lawn with silent machines.
They wave and smile.

No one waves back.
Highlighter yellow frisbees dot
the tennis courts, paved paths and
weeping benches. The wind has hung
itself in the branches of the topiary.

I look into your milk-colored eyes
and forget why we are here, forget the
purpose of this jar we hold together.

We swim to the center of the lake
and neglect to return.



Ode to March 7


Digital Glow.                  Kissing.

        Kissing.         Tu boca es muy fea.
                                Your breath tastes like shit.

        Sigh.

                                        N train glimmers on the rail-horizon.
My flowered dress.  Cotton.            
                                Razor-burned cold limns my calves.

Subway platform shadows move. Slower.  Yellowed.
                        Edges round.                            
                                                Pigeon.

Seagull.         Pigeon.         Robin.


                                                
Teenagers smoke
near the edge, collars up.

                
Hair wafts into eyes, sticks to my lipstick.  

                                                     The sky is bigger than
it's been.

Radio-guitar, far below.              Some kind of
yelling (next block).


Sandals (not yet)
                                Pennies spilling
                                        on the train floor.

                Spring, again.




Christine Hamm lives in NYC, is a psychiatric social worker and has a MA in Creative Writing. Her poetry has been published by Poetry Midwest, can we have our ball back?, Shampoo, Stirring, Taint, Whalelane, the Absinthe Literary Review, the Adirondack Review and many others. She was recently a finalist in the Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. She has taught several poetry workshops in New York City and she is the former literary editor of Wide Angle, a monthly cultural journal based in Queens.


 

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